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Girl Scouts adds mobile payments to drive cookie sales

The Girl Scouts may be a 100-year-old organization but it is also firmly planted in the 21st century now that the young saleswomen selling much-loved cookies are accepting payments via their mobile devices.

Working with Sage Payment Solutions, many Girl Scouts are now equipped with mobile devices that have a credit card reader attached. Already, some Girl Scout troops are reporting an increase in cookie sales since adopting the technology.

“The Girl Scouts may be one of the most compelling examples of the value of accepting credit card payments via a mobile phone,” said Greg Hammermaster, president of Sage Payment Solution, the payments division for Sage North America.

“Historically, businesses have been tethered to their retail stores or web sites to serve their customers who prefer to pay with a credit card,” he said. “That doesn’t work too well if you’re a Girl Scout.

“By equipping the troop leader with a Sage Mobile Payment account and swiper, the Girl Scout team can offer the convenience of quickly and securely taking a credit or debit card. And commercially this is of tremendous value to the Girl Scout organization.”

13 percent sales increase
In a study, one region found that troops with payment equipped mobile phones had sales climb 13 percent or 6 boxes per Girl Scout over troops that did not use the mobile payment device, per Mr. Hammermaster.

Given that cookie sales are one the primary funding sources for the Girl Scouts, this is a meaningful development for the organization.

There are reportedly 32 troops in 23 states that are using Sage Payment Solutions mobile credit card collecting technology. The organization reportedly worked with Sage for a year to tailor the technology to its needs.

Using the Sage Mobile Payments program is optional for each region and troop, but Sage reports it is experiencing a rapid program rollout across the country based on strong customer feedback and business results.

The credit card reader easily attaches to a smartphone. Then all buyers have to do is hand over their credit card, which is swiped through the reader, and sign the touchpad with their finger, which should result in the Girl Scouts being able to capture sales from consumers who may not have cash or a checkbook on them.  

Customers can also request to receive a digital receipt via their email.

The Girl Scouts also recently introduced a revamped cookie finder mobile app that enables users to find closest place to buy Girl Scout cookies.

“With Sage entering the mobile payments space, the market received a commercial grade program that delivers the level of security required on a ‘hot’ mobile device, business level reporting with data integration, and no silly pricing games,” Mr. Hammermaster said. “This is what organizations and business were looking for as they want predictability, business-level customer service, and most importantly, an industrial-strength secure payment solution.”

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