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Girl Scouts cook up interest in gluten-free treats with enhanced app

Girl Scouts of the USA is drumming up interest in the debut of three cookie varieties this year, including gluten-free options, with enhancements and new features for its Girl Scout Cookie Finder mobile application that allow for easier purchasing.

Users can now search for cookie sales and driving directions to local booths within the app, which has been updated for 2015 and is available for iOS and Android platforms. Consumers can use the app to discover which councils carry the new cookie treats that will be introduced this season, such as the gluten-free Toffee-tastic and Trios cookies, and the oatmeal and yogurt-flavored Rah-Rah Raisins.

“Based on what the app offers, it looks like it will drive more sales,” said Mike Cochrane, sales director at Atimi, Vancouver, Canada. “The location finder feature in the app will help eliminate the question ‘ Where can I buy some cookies.’

“The app will enable you to order online, pay with a credit card and even have your order shipped or delivered personally by a Girl Scout. The app also provides a history and even provides the recipe from 1922.”

App updates
The Cookie Finder mobile app has added tablet versions for consumers seeking to browse delectable treats, and also features new enhancements set to propel the brand’s awareness and mcommerce even higher in 2015.

The app, which is free to download, now showcases cookie sale searches with selectable start dates, links to Girl Scout recipes, Instagram options for sharing treats and the option for users to vote on their favorite Girl Scout Cookies.

These new offerings are designed to help promote the new cookie varieties debuting this season. Consumers interested in the new cookies must contact their local council or check within the app to see if a specific variety is available in their market.

The organization is attempting to market to gluten-free customers with the introduction of the Toffee-tastic and Trios cookies. Toffee-tastic offers a buttery taste with toffee pieces, while the Trios cookie is a combination of peanut butter, whole grain oats and chocolate chips.

The third new variety, Rah-Rah Raisins, is not gluten-free, but features a new take on an oatmeal raisin cookie, with Greek yogurt-flavored bits.

Going digital
Girl Scouts is also ramping up to raise awareness of National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend, taking place from Feb. 27 through Mar. 1 this year. Participating members are encouraged to sell the branded cookies, which include fan-favorites such as Thin Mints and Samoas, at local booths, door to door, and via Digital Cookie, the organization’s digital platform that aims to teach young women about mobile app usage, ecommerce and online marketing.

Digital Cookie marks the organization’s foray into mobile commerce, as the platform enables consumers to buy cookies through two separate sales platforms, based on market areas (see story). Scouts can take orders in-person through Digital Cookie via a mobile app that allows credit card processing and shipping options.

This move streamlined the cookie-purchasing process for customers and for the Scouts, who will no longer need to carry a plethora of boxes when selling door to door.

Scouts that opt not to use the mobile transaction app can instead leverage their own customized cookie Web sites.

Members attending the Cookie Weekend will be able to celebrate the “5 Skills” that the brand teaches, including money management and people skills, and can upload their experiences onto social media sites using the hashtag #cookieboss.

“The leveraging of social media is extremely important considering the amount of people that use social platforms to help with their purchasing decisions,” Mr. Cochrane said. “The app incorporates Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest plus numerous other platforms which will help to generate a buzz and educate people about the ‘Cookie Weekend.’

“The ability to share a ‘Cookie Photo’ is a fun way to keep people involved even after their purchase. Social media can definitely help with the awareness.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York