Start-Up Honey Aims to Revitalize Coupons

Why is it so hard to breathe new life into the coupon industry? If you’re not being bombarded by endless coupon sites via email, it’s the coupon code box that mocks you during the checkout of every order. It’s starting to feel like you can’t get an honest deal shopping online.

But a new startup aims to change all of that. Honey is a new browser extension that will search the web to locate coupon codes for you, and even try them within seconds. The end result is a happier customer that gets an item for a lower price. The retailer gets the sale and you don’t end up feeling like you missed out on something.

How it Works

Users install Honey into their Chrome browsers and then browse the web as usual. Before getting ready to make a purchase, when the user sees the box for the “coupon code,” he can start searching for coupons with Honey. By clicking “Find Savings” Honey will quickly surf the web for some coupon codes and automatically apply them for the user until it finds one that works.

A short little timer counts down and then Honey lets you know if it found something. If you can save money great, if not, at least you know you tried a fairly comprehensive search.

So how does Honey make money?

At the moment it actually doesn’t. The FAQ page states that in the future the company may look into affiliate programs and rebates, but the service has yet to show revenue potential.

Investor Hype

That hasn’t stopped Ryan Hudson, CEO and Founder of Honey, from being able to raise a substantial amount of money for this pet project. Hudson is no stranger to the limelight, owning one of the top young tech entrepreneur spots right alongside Mark Zuckerberg. He’s been able to leverage what he calls true “word of mouth marketing” into a surprising round of invesments in his new firm.

Honey has the potential to tap into the browsing habits of millions of users, which gives retail investors like Jeff Bartel cause for interest. Investment firms like Bartel’s The Hampton Group invest in retail properties and seek new ways to grow that business online. Knowing more about how we shop, and where we look for discounts all help personalize our shopping experience.

Plus, Honey users actively shop and will boost numbers for eCommerce retailers.

Honey’s Marketing

Honey reaches people through word of mouth marketing. The company had a “leak” not too long ago on social bookmarking site “Reddit.” The tester was so excited about the savings he found user the plugin that he had to share his results with Reddit. This quiet release actually helped build a snowball of hype for the product.

Today Honey has more than 150,000 users and continues to grow.

The blog currently runs a “Honey Hunters” challenge where two people “compete” on purchases to see how much money they can save using Honey. Shopping from outlets like Urban Outfitters and, the two have been able to grab a wireless Sega Genesis and tons of wall art and see substantial savings from the process.

Future of Coupons

As shopping becomes more personalized, expect to see coupons further evolve. Endorse, recently acquired by Dropbox, tried to take receipts that you uploaded and apply discounts based on that data. The idea was to pitch retailers user data they could market to, but the company closed up shop a month before Dropbox acquired it.

Facebook constantly mines your age, interests and friends to show you more relevant ads and its recent jump in stock price shows the strategy may be working. Honey doesn’t require your personal data, but it will review the sites you browse in order to serve you coupons. If you want to try Honey, visit to download the plugin and see how much you could save.

Leave a Reply