Blogs & Comment

Winners & Losers: Girl Scouts embrace e-commerce, Angry Birds plummets

Not that kind of digital cookie

▲ Girl Scouts of the USA

Get your e-commerce badge

Girl Scout

(Alfred Eisenstadt/LIFE Magazine Archive/Getty)

Girl Scouts are unquestionably the greatest sales force in the history of business. It is virtually impossible to refuse purchase of a box of Thin Mints or Samoas because nobody wants to be the heartless ogre who crushes a Girl Scout’s entrepreneurial spirit. That’s why their cookies are an $800 million a year business in the U.S. (Such a shame that pesky child labour laws make it difficult for profit-seeking entities to exploit the selling power of Girl Scouts. Am I right, capitalists?) Now the U.S. Girl Scouts are taking their skills online. The organization announced Digital Cookie this week, a platform to allow members to sell and ship cookies to friends and family. They can sell through personal websites, or take orders in-person with a mobile app. Girl Scouts resisted online sales in the past, arguing it would give some girls an unfair advantage, and claiming they wouldn’t learn all of the entrepreneurial skills the cookie-selling program is designed to teach. The organization spent three years researching how to incorporate those skills into an online format. Girl Guides of Canada, meanwhile, will not be following the lead of its U.S. counterpart, citing the cost of setting up such a platform, as well as safety concerns—proving Canada to be tech laggard in e-commerce yet again. But hey, at least we won’t be flooded with cookie-related SEO marketing and promoted tweets.

MORE: Why the Girl Scouts introduced a happiness badge »

▼ Rovio

Now we know why they’re angry



The maker of Angry Birds, a mobile game that was a sensation four years ago—announced it’s laying off 110 jobs, or 14% of its staff. Rovio is also closing down an office and consolidating operations at its headquarters in Espoo, Finland. Rovio capitalized on the sudden popularity of Angry Birds in a big way through licensing rights. There are all kinds of Angry Birds-themed products, from those that make sense, such as toys for children, to those that no self-respecting adult should possess, such as Angry Birds-themed debit cards. The company was rumoured to be an IPO candidate, too. But Rovio has struggled to maintain the popularity of Angry Birds and come up with another hit game. It’s been a victim of its own enthusiasm, admitting that it expanded headcount too quickly. Operating profit fell by more than half last year. Rovio just has to hold on until 2016, when a feature film inspired by Angry Birds will hit theatres. Movies based on games have always been audience favourites—Super Mario Bros. and Battleship are classics—so what could possibly go wrong?

MORE: Canada’s indie video game makers are blasting the big boys—and winning »