Boost Your Boutique Blog

Get inspired by the girl scouts this week

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If you know me, you know I always have something to say about the retail industry or what I see happening in Boutiqueland. On Mondays going forward, I'll be updating you on my thoughts, inspirations and ideas from around our corner of the world.

Let's talk about the Girl Scout cookie order I placed this past Saturday night. Because I clicked 'buy' and had a whole swirl of ideas and musings on it…

What made me buy? A friend posted an adorable photo of her daughter outside in the freezing cold selling her cookies with a link to buy. I realized I hadn't bought any this year (I make it a point to order/buy from at least one Girl Scout yearly!) so I clicked and purchased. Making the sale was THAT EASY for my small friend Gwennie.

Question for you: Why are you making it so hard for people to buy from you? You're in a closed group or have an app only. Maybe you send invoices by hand still? Perhaps you don't even have a proper website where people can buy directly from you. WHY are you bottlenecking your own sales flow? Really ask yourself why you're putting so many steps between you and the sale. It took me 3 clicks to spend $37 on cookies. And it was on a Shopify site so… just saying.

Was it Free Shipping? (because I don't live that close to my friend I did an online order) No actually, shipping was a flat rate of $12.50. Yes my friend, $12.50! Gwennie is not prepared to absorb the cost of shipping because I'm sure it eats into her margin. Did I care? NOPE. I wasn't sure how else I was going to get us the cookies this year so I just paid. Why? Because I get to buy delish cookies AND support a female entrepreneur, that's why.

Question for you: Why are you still not charging enough for shipping? Whether it's in the retail price or actual shipping charge, what is stopping you? And why are you still doing porch pick-ups or deliveries? Do you really have to? Or are you doing it because you think you'll sell more, or people won't buy if they have to pay shipping? Be honest with yourself here.

How much do others charge for cookies? Probably not the rate the Girl Scouts are charging unless they are gourmet. Their cookies are $5 a box, much higher than most at the grocery store. But somehow, grocery store brands haven't seemed to steal the recipe for Caramel d'lites. So Girl Scouts have brand recognition going for them!

Question for you: Why aren't you marking up appropriately? Whether it's 2.7-3x+ for women's apparel and accessories or 2.3-2.5x+ for children's apparel… where can you squeeze more money into the gap between wholesale cost and retail price? Remember, the ONLY WAY we make money in retail is to charge more (aka have a higher markup) or sell more. That's literally it. If you're struggling to sell more, perhaps take a second look at your markup and start charging more. My husband reminded me that as businesses we also have to recognize inflation and freely add 10% where we can this year to adjust to it (if you needed another reason).
But doesn't every town have a troop? And maybe some towns have many troops? How about each individual girl, do you think they compete with each other to sell the most cookies? That's something I can't answer, but for some reason when I was 7, I don't remember trying to “outdo” my friends, especially my good friends. Maybe there is a slight level of competition, but my guess is that each kid is going to show up in the way they feel best. Another friend with a daughter Sophia said she went door to door in her neighborhood because she had a goal to hit. Go Sophia!
Question for you: Why do we as adult women feel like we need to be so competitive? Where did that start to come into play? Is it some kind of instinctual mating hormone that goes off in our head in our teen years? I like most women and unless they are blatantly copying me (get your own ideas lady!), or trying to harm me, I kind of don't care what they're doing. You do you!
What else are the Girl Scouts doing that we need to make note of?
Here's what they have working in their favor: 
  • Exclusivity: you can only buy them from a Girl Scout member (or their parent)
  • A classic, nostalgic assortment and new flavors
  • New cookies address the trends in food, like gluten free or vegan options.
  • Scarcity: when they are out, they are out... or when the parent places the order, that's it.
  • Also scarcity- they are only available during a very short time in the year.
Maybe this is the year we start to tap into our inner Girl Scout. Let's stand outside looking cute in the freezing cold (at least here in Massachusetts!) proudly selling our delicious, desirable product (maybe even with our besties), outside a store that probably also sells cookies for much less. Oh and smile and take the money.
Here's to making lots of friends and makings lots of money,