NEW YORK - Watch out world, the Girl Scouts are going digital to sell you cookies.
For the first time since sales began nearly 100 years, Girl Scouts of the USA will allow its young go-getters to push their wares using a mobile app or personalized websites.
But only if their scout councils and guardians say OK.
"Girls have been telling us that they want to go into this space," said Sarah Angel-Johnson, chief digital cookie executive for the organization covering about two million girls. "Online is where entrepreneurship is going."
And the best news for these digital natives: They can have cookies shipped directly to your doorstep.
More than one million scouts, from kindergarten-age Daisies to teens, were expected to opt in as cookie-selling season cranks up this month and the scouting organization gets digital sales underway. But the tactic is intended to enhance, not replace, the paper spreadsheets used to generate an estimated $800 million in cookie sales a year - at anywhere from $3.50 to $5 a box, depending on scout council.
There are important e-lessons here, scout officials said, such as better articulating and tracking goals, learning to handle customers and money in a new way, and more efficiently processing credit-card information.
"A lot of people have asked, 'What took you so long to get online?' We spend a lot of time thinking how do we make this safe, scalable and smart," Kelly M. Parisi, chief communications executive for Girl Scouts of the USA, said at a recent demonstration for select media.
The websites will not be accessible without an e-mail invitation, requiring the girls to build client lists.