Girl Scout cookie sales have gone digital, and Detroit-based Evans Distribution Systems is handling the shipping for more than a million boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs and more.
The online extension of the iconic Girl Scout Cookie platform launched in 2014, and this year even more Girl Scouts are participating in the program. (Full disclosure — my daughter is one of them.)
Girls can invite customers to visit a personalized cookie website, or can take in-person orders using a mobile app. Those orders will be fulfilled by Evans, where the orders are picked, packed, and shipped out to the customers.
The cookies Evans is handling are made by Little Brownie Bakers, one of two companies that make Girl Scout cookies. (Different regions use different bakers, and the cookies offered differ slightly.)
Cookie sales help local Girl Scout councils pay for camps and other activities for members, and are the main funding mechanism for individual troops, paying for everything from craft supplies and badges to camping trips, travel and community service projects.
While Girl Scouts still encourages girls to develop leadership skills through traditional activities such as camping and a big focus on community service, the modern organization also focuses on science, technology, engineering and match skills, or STEM.
Through their personalized websites, the girls can send marketing e-mails, set goals, and track their progress toward their goal using a variety of charts and graphs.
The orders from these Girl Scout personalized websites will be fulfilled out of Detroit by Evans. The fourth-generation, family owned business was founded in 1929, 86 years ago. Today, the company runs a growing e-commerce, order fulfillment operation developed to keep up with the increasing demand in the global market for omni-channel and online shopping.
“Working with an organization with such a deep rooted American tradition, and being able to create a unique solution for their organization is very rewarding, especially as the father of a Girl Scout myself,” said John A. Evans, president of Evans Distribution Systems, in a press release.
Evans has developed fulfillment technology that allows communication between a website, the shipper, and Evans’ own inventory software, providing real-time updates customers and end users. The technology can connect to Google and Amazon stores, mobile apps, and e-commerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, and others. Evans says this lets it offer its customers “a true omni-channel solution” for order fulfillment.
In addition, Evans will pick, pack, and ship orders out of the Detroit facility using UPS, USPS, or FedEx. And it offers the ability for customer to include custom packaging and marketing inserts and promotions in their packages.
E-commerce and order fulfillment is becoming a large part of many organizations, with an annual growth rate of nearly 19% since 2000, according to the Journal of Commerce. Omni-channel e-commerce is the latest buzz, referring to multiple channels of ordering, allowing marketers to reach customers across all platforms and devices.
I have to admit, when I signed my then-first-grader up for Girl Scouts back in 2009, I had visions of campfires and s’mores, arts and crafts, canoeing and archery. I had no idea she’d be involved in something so high-tech and buzz-worthy.