Buying Thin Mints online? Girl Scout cookies go digital

The annual Girl Scout cookies frenzy is finally entering the modern age as the national organization approves online and app-enabled cookie sales.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

Girl Scouts

Soon, you may be able to get your Do-si-dos, Samoas and Thin Mints online. (Or Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Caramel DeLites and Thin Mints, depending on your part of the country.) That would mean no more trudging about town, seeking out your crunchy sugar fix in a blind frenzy, hoping to stumble on a cookie stand at a nearby grocery store.

The Girl Scouts have announced the Digital Cookie initiative, an enhancement to the existing cookie program that will let buyers load up on cookies either online or through an app.

Girl Scouts of the USA is no stranger to the digital realm. The organization already offers a cookie-locating mobile app that leads you to the closest stash of cookies for sale. The group has also worked to connect its scouts with maker and tech projects. A video game development badge is available for scouts who are interested in software development. Taking the popular cookies online is a natural next step.

"Digital Cookie is a game-changer for Girl Scouts, and a quantum leap forward in the evolution of the cookie program, coupling traditional sales activities with an online sales experience that teaches skills like online marketing and e-commerce, all in a digital space that puts an emphasis on learning, fun and safety," says Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chavez.

Buying your Caramel DeLites (or Samoas, as the case may be) online won't be as simple as popping over to Amazon and ordering up a few dozen boxes. Some scouts will use special personalized websites, but access will be via email invitation only. You may need to send some desperate pleas out through your extended network in order to be invited in.

A mobile app will let scouts take credit-card orders in person and arrange for shipment of the sugary goods, but you'll still need to find a scout in the real world to use this method.

The new digital entrepreneurs will be encouraged to promote their sales, track their customers and learn the ropes of online commerce. Scouts and their caregivers are required to take an Internet safety pledge before using the new online platform. Caregivers will also have to approve any changes and updates made to scouts' personalized sites. Presumably these limits reflect the organization's concerns expressed in 2013 about the Scouts' safety online, as well as "how to make it possible for girls to engage consumers in online sales, while continuing to help them develop critical and relevant entrepreneurship skills in the process."

The digital cookies will only be available through participating local councils, but a quick glance at the list shows that over 50 councils are already on board. Chances are good the next box of Girl Scout cookies you buy could be online, which makes the indulgence all the sweeter for dedicated Internet shoppers.