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Girl Scouts quadruple cookie sales with mobile credit card swipers

June 26, 2012

Girl Scout cookies sales up thanks to mobile attachment

Girl Scouts using mobile credit card swipers sold up to four times as many cookies compared with year-ago sales when the devices were not in use.

Earlier this year, 30 Girl Scout councils representing more than 40,000 troops partnered with Sage Mobile Payments to enable the scouts to accept credit or debit card payments via an attachment for mobile devices. Girl Scout cookies such as Tagalongs and Thin Mints are perennial favorites with consumers and are sold as a way to raise money for the program.

“Fundamentally, accepting credit and debit cards generates more spontaneous purchases,” said Greg Hammermaster, president of Sage Payment Solutions, McLean, VA.

“Not only do customers prefer the speed and convenience of credit cards, but they also tend to buy more product when using credit cards instead of cash or checks,” he said. “By promoting credit cards at the point-of-sale, it increases the spontaneous nature that everyone feels when passing a Girl Scout cookie table.”

Capturing impulse sales
The Sage swiper is attached to a mobile device, enabling the Girl Scouts to process credit and debit card payments as they travel to fundraisers and go door-to-door selling cookies. With several Girl Scout councils reporting sales increases as a result, the organization is looking to enable more troops to offer a mobile payments option for next year’s cookie program.

Some councils are also considering using the product for event tickets and retail operations.

Some of the benefits of mobile payments reported by the Girl Scouts include the ease and convenience, email receipts, daily reports and the fact that money goes straight into the troops’ bank accounts.

Fresno, CA-based Girl Scouts of Central California South reported that average cookie sale transaction increased from about $20 to nearly $80 for troops using Sage Mobile Payments.


Macedonia, Ohio-based Girl Scouts of North East Ohio reported that cookie sales increased by 27 percent for the troops using mobile payments and the per-girl-average in those troops increased from 154 boxes to 176 boxes, a 14 percent increase.

Raleigh, NC-based Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines reported that troops using the  mobile payments solution increased their sales by 13 percent while overall cookie sales for the council grew by about three percent.

Early days
The Girl Scout troops are using Sage Mobile Payments Version 2.0, which features an updated user interface, signature capture capabilities, a tax and tip calculator, and a free Sage Mobile app store.

There are 3.2 million Girl Scouts, including 2.3 million girl members and 880,000 adult members.

“The most successful mobile payment solution is the credit card,” Mr. Hammermaster said. “Virtually every consumer has one in their wallet or purse, so it makes sense for the merchant to be mobile, too.

“We are in the early days of mobile payments and businesses that predominantly sell their products to customers who are on-the-go is where the market is right now,” he said. “We are seeing some early adopters in bricks and mortar retail stores, but the mobile device isn’t the best solution for high volume stores.

“It will get there at some point, but customers will need to be willing to move away from plastic cards and put their information on the Web and mobile devices to speed up the process, and businesses will need to create more compelling loyalty schemes to motivate adoption.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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