To support their traditional face-to-face sales, many Scouts are building their own web sites to sell popcorn. While the popcorn companies have their own online sales system, these Scouts find it better to use their own site to augment the popcorn company’s sites.
Before we look at these sites, we must talk about internet security. I recommend Scouts of all ages to earn their Cyber Chip. To help families and volunteers keep youth safe while online, the BSA, with help from NetSmartz, have developed materials which are grade specific and educate both youth and parents about the potential pitfalls of being online. This is a great program for all youth.
Now, let’s look at various Scout sites and the elements which make them successful.
Nick – Highland Park, IL
In 2010, Nick was the top online salesperson with over $8000 in online sales. Nick has since achieved his Eagle Rank and is over 18 so the links no longer work. However, this site was one of the first to have a Scout market themselves.
There are lots of pictures not only about the activities Nick has done but the service projects in which he has participated.
I think the request for action letter at the top of the page is excellent. “Since you are too far away for me to come by and knock on your door I am sending you this email to in hope that you will support my Troop or the Troops abroad by purchasing some popcorn.”
Nick was successful with this site because he developed an email database of over 300 names over the entire time he sold popcorn. He included this web page in his emails and asked them to forward it on to others. He used the popcorn company’s web site for order and payment processing. The biggest advantage is he never touched the product.
One concern people have had with his site is Nick using his last name in the materials. This is a subject the family should discuss before building their own site. Most Councils do not include last names of youth in any materials. However, if you are comfortable with it, then feel free.
Elian – Princeton, New Jersey
Elian has a unique site in he has two different ways for customers to order online. If a customer lives in the local area, the first link goes to the Square Market. This is the same company who offers the Square Reader to take credit card payments which I mentioned in a previous blog. This allows Elian to take a credit card payment online. In addition, the customer pays the same price for the popcorn as if the Scout knocked on the door and Elian delivers the product to them. Another advantage to this system is it captures customer information so he can ask them again next year. Finally, Elian created customized Military Donation button in the Square Market so customers could put in any value rather than just the standard Military Donation dollar amount.
If the customer lives outside the local area, the second option takes them to the popcorn company site with his Scout Code already imbedded in the link. All payment processing and shipping is handled by the popcorn company.
Finally, there is a link to Elian’s Popcorn Facebook Page to see even more pictures and locations of where he is doing Show and Sell so people can come visit them at the storefront.
This site was built using Google Sites.
Nick – Camarillo, CA
Nick’s site looks more like a traditional business site. HIs sales pitch by video is excellent. As a matter of fact, Nick has different videos from the past several years which are quite entertaining. His ‘Buy Popcorn’ button goes directly to the popcorn company site with his embedded number so Nick gets credit for the sale.
I must say, seeing this site brought back very fond memories. This Scout is from Pack 3877 in Camarillo, CA. When I was a District Executive in the mid-90s, I help start this Pack with just 5 Cub Scouts. It is rewarding to see the Pack is alive and going strong.
This site was built using WordPress.
Donovan – Hamilton, NJ
Donovan had the third highest popcorn sales in the country last year selling over $23,000. In talking with Donovan, he uses an iPad to present a slide show about why he is selling popcorn as he goes door-to-door. In addition, Donovan uses other sources of social media to generate popcorn sales. Not only does Donovan use this site, he maintains a Twitter account linking back to his popcorn page. As you can see by his site, Donovan is attending the World Jamboree next year in Japan. I am sure popcorn has paid a significant portion of his way to this amazing event.
This site was build using Facebook.
Online sales are a great way to supplement your traditional face-to-face sales. I find as Scouts grow up and get into high school, it is not the lack of the ‘cuteness factor’ which prevents them from getting popcorn sales. It is a lack of time. With sport practice, homecoming, and club meetings in addition to Scouts, most weekends and after school time is taken. Online Sales provide a different method to sell without taking as much time.
Just having a web site is not enough. It is still important to have a database of customers to send the link to the Scout’s web site and find other ways to spread the message about their site via social media. It is also a good way for them to work on their Salesmanship and Entrepreneurship Merit Badge.
Good luck and keep selling.