If you're craving Girl Scout cookies, there's now a much quicker way to order them: On the internet. Gone are the days when we had to stave off our craving for Thin Mints until a Girl Scout rang our doorbell. But if you're wondering how to order Girl Scout Cookies online, here's what you need to know — because it's a little bit trickier than you might expect. You can't just log onto any old e-retailer to grab a box of your favorite cookie variety; indeed, it's often a risk buying Girl Scout cookies from third parties unaffiliated with Girl Scouts of the USA (first, your money might not actually go to the Girl Scouts, and second, they might not even be actual Girl Scout cookies). But I have good news, too: That's where the Girl Scout Cookies' official Digital Cookie platform comes in. It's hands-down the best way to snag your favorites when Girl Scout cookie season arrives. (Bustle has reached out to Girl Scouts of the USA and will update if/when we hear back.)
Update: Stewart Pim Goodbody, Director of Communications for Girl Scouts of the USA, tells Bustle in an email, "[Digital Cookie] is a lot like buying your cookies at a traditional cookie booth, but with an online twist. In true Girl Scout style, the girls initiate the cookie sale, whether online, via email, or in person at the cookie booth with their Digital Cookie mobile app." Continues Goodbody, "A Girl Scout you know may invite you to visit via her personalized cookie website where you can place your order, pay using Visa Checkout or credit cards, have your order shipped or delivered by a Girl Scout, or even donate cookies to charity. Some Girl Scouts may take in-person orders using a mobile app that also allows them to securely accept payments."
Earlier: If you've been a longtime fan of Girl Scout cookies, you have probably at least heard of Digital Cookie, which debuted during the 2015 cookie season. For those who are unfamiliar, Digital Cookie is an online platform and mobile app that lets people directly buy cookies from individual Girl Scouts based either locally or anywhere else in the nation. Girl Scouts can use the Digital Cookie platform to track their sales goals (talk about learning business tactics at a young age!) as well as participate in more fun activities like interactive games and fun quizzes. Customers can order boxes of cookies through Digital Cookie, which accepts credit cards as a form of payment, and request home delivery.
This video from the Girl Scouts website provides a pretty neat inside look into how the Digital Cookie app functions for Girl Scouts who've signed up for it:
As you can see from the video, there's one catch to using Digital Cookie to buy cookies. Here's what makes Digital Cookie work: You must get an invite from an actual Girl Scout in order to access an online store, because you can only buy cookies through her personal Digital Cookie website (so it's not like you can just download the app and buy cookies on your own). That's because only Girl Scouts have Digital Cookie accounts and can send email invitations to customers with a link to their site.
For those who don't know any Girl Scouts, this may make Digital Cookie feel rather inaccessible. But if you think about it, the process is basically a digital version of the same order form you probably used to buy cookies from Girl Scouts when you were younger, when they sold cookies door to door. Also, Digital Cookie makes the online selling process much safer than, say, allowing anyone to access a Girl Scout's cookie order website. (Let me be corny for a moment: Be a smart cookie and use Digital Cookie!) Once you've gotten an invite, though, using it is just as easy as it ever is to order something online: All it takes is a few clicks, and you're done.
There are a few ways to get in touch with a Girl Scout. If you already know a Girl Scout personally (or perhaps your family or friends know a Girl Scout), then it's easy to just let her know that you're interested in making a cookie order via Digital Cookie. If you don't already know a Girl Scout, however, you can look up a list of local Girl Scout councils that use Digital Cookie locally. Your council should be able to connect you to a Girl Scout who uses Digital Cookie. Once you get in touch with a Girl Scout, simply ask her to forward a link to her Digital Cookie website so you can start ordering. Voila!
What's more, some Girl Scout troops may actually take payment for their cookies at their actual cookie booths using Digital Cookie, too (so, if you don't have cash on you when you stumble upon a table of young cookie entrepreneurs outside your grocery store, it might not be a problem at all). If you're stopping by a Girl Scout cookie booth and ordering with Digital Cookie in person, the great thing about the app is that you can take a look at the nutrition facts, ingredients, allergy information, and other helpful information about the cookies you're ordering.
For instance, here's what the "Cookie Details" for Thin Mints look like on the app:
And here the ingredients for Thin Mint cookies:
Needless to say, it's a great way for first-timers to learn more about what they're buying (or to help them make a decision about what cookies they should get!).
Happy cookie season!