If you were born any time after 1920, chances are you’ve had yourself a Girl Scout cookie. Thin mints, samoas, trefoils — whatever your favorite, not much has changed about the cookies, or the girl scouts, in decades.
Which means they’re due.
As of this year, purchases for those tasty Girl Scout treats can now be made by credit card via a card reader attachment and mobile application for smartphones. At least 200 troops in northeast Ohio have taken the initiative to give the new method a try. So if you meet a Girl Scout selling cookies and you have a craving but no cash, just pass the plastic. They’re armed with a mobile app for commerce.
“Normally I think a lot of customers would love to buy cookies, but they have to walk by the booth because they’re not carrying cash,” said Marianne Love, director of business services for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio.
It seems to be working.
Cookie sales for one troop using the card reader reportedly increased by 20% compared to last year’s sales made in the same location without the simple hardware add-on and corresponding iPhone app, Android app or Blackberry app.
The device used by the girl scouts is known as GoPayment and is sold by Intuit, a company best known for its QuickBooks products. The company charges a small transaction fee for purchases. They charge the Girl Scouts their lowest rate at 1.7% + 15 cents per transaction, while most customers pay 2.7%. Pricing plans for the service vary by sale volume.
And that’s not all the Girl Scouts are doing with technology. Having a thin mints emergency? Need to find the nearest Girl Scout cookie vending location? Yeah…there’s an app for that.
Cookie Finder, an iPod Touch and iPhone app, uses GPS to locate the cookie sales location nearest you. The app gives you data on cookie sales for the area and the country, as well as the start and end dates of cookie season. You can even post cookie locations on Facebook and Twitter, and vote for your favorite Girl Scout cookie. Other features include connecting with the local Girl Scout council, a bookmark feature that allows users to save upcoming cookie sales, and iPod compatibility.
The Girl Scouts maintain many of the traditions and values they’ve had since their founding in 1917. They’re known for molding leaders. We think that, with the addition of devices like the GoPayment card reader, use of new media like Facebook, and the future mobile application development that is undoubtedly on the horizon, the Girl Scouts are well-prepared to lead the way in the future of digital and mobile commerce, too.
A word of caution - you’ll need something more original than “Sorry, fresh out of cash” to get by that pack of scouts guarding the front door of your local supermarket.
Source: USA TodayCopy Permalink