Thursday, March 23, 2017

Save Money with Honey

       Honey is an extension to Chrome browsers that automatically applies coupons while shopping online. I actually came across this technology through a travel blogger who titled her article "This is how I afford luxury travel on a super low budget.” The blogger mentions that she uses Honey on clothing websites and Groupon. On a 14-day trip, originally costing $1,499, to Italy the price dropped $200. Some of the discounts are great and some are not as drastic, maybe a few dollars here or there, but if you are already buying the product it never hurts to save a dollar. 

    Honey is built on the idea of convenience. Finding the coupons and actually using coupons creates more annoyance than purchasing without the discount. Also, unless you happen to be on their email chain or follow their social media it is hard to come across the discounts. Receiving an email from the company or finding a deal on social media also creates a coincidence of wants. Meaning just because you found the coupon does not necessarily mean you are interested in the product. With Honey the work is done for you and if you are checking out, you were going to buy the product regardless of the discount. Saving money is just an added bonus. 
    The actual technology behind Honey is through analytics and coding software. With patterns and statistics Honey uses a model to search and find these discounts. The browser starts to work when you add things into a cart while you online shop. While it searches, it adds each code it finds, and when you checkout it adds the discount that saves you the most. Honey has a partnership with Amazon to help customers find the best deal. Not only will they find discounts but they will try to find the same product offered by a different vendor for less. 
    George Ruan is an engineer and one of the developers of Honey. During an interview he states, “Developing Chrome extensions is very easy. We wrote the frontend in JavaScript and CSS and published it to the Chrome store with a Google Developer account.” Ruan also mentions the browser extension only took three weeks to build.
    I also messaged Honey on Twitter to find out more about how they find these codes. “We get codes from our merchant partners as well as our regular users. We have relationships with some merchants that allow us to offer Honey-exclusive codes, but on stores where we don't have those exclusives, our user base and our own team of coupon sleuthers find those deals for ya.”
    Some are skeptical of using Honey because they think it is spyware. One article, published by TechRepublic, claims Honey is only activated when you add something into your cart during an e-commerce checkout; otherwise the program does not run. I downloaded the browser a little less than a month ago and no weird messages or pop-ups have occurred.  
Sources:

8 comments:

Kelly McNamara said...

As someone who often makes purchases online, I am greatly intrigued by this kind of software that Chrome is introducing. I have often looked to other websites, like retailmenot.com to find online coupons and promo codes to save money when shopping online. As you mentioned, I find it to often be more of a hassle than a convenience. I have had experiences where the website has listed a promo code that has been said to work on the website I am shopping on when it in fact does not. You also make a very valid point with being given coupon codes when you are not interested in making a purchase online at the time and then not being able to find one later when you are interested.

After reading your blog post, I went to go download the Honey extension on to chrome and I found there to be one improvement that I would like to see to the software. When I clicked on the Honey icon to see the coupons and deals offered, I was disappointed to find that the extension was showing coupon codes that were not relevant to the type of retail item I was interested in purchasing. Instead, it provided deals that were only available if I was purchasing a different brand or kind of product. If I had the opportunity, I would suggest to those who are developing and still working on honey to have the software better identify the items in a user’s online checkout cart and offer more relevant coupons, or at least list the more relevant coupons on the top of the list. If Honey still wanted to display the other types of coupons offered in order to encourage more spending by the user, maybe they could separate the coupons into two categories, those that apply to the items being purchased and others.

This idea developed by George Ruan, in my opinion, is genius. Online shoppers and internet users in general are always looking for better convenience and this extension/application does just that. You mention that Honey has already made relationships with several merchants/retailers and I can see the amount of relationships growing once retailers realize the potential in the growth of online sales they will receive because of Honey.

I also believe that more applications like Honey will begin to be developed in the future. Like I said, online users look for better convenience and it does not have to be with just retail shopping. The same type of software could be used for airfare, train tickets, and other types of transportation/travel bookings made online. There is vast potential in the possibilities that this type of software offers to internet users.

Matt Lodato said...

I have used the Honey Google Chrome extension in the past, and there is no doubt that it is extremely convenient in helping to save time and money. In a similar way to you, the first time I heard about this extension was through an email advertisement. After seeing it for the first time, I downloaded it within minutes as I assume most people might. Searching for a coupon after deciding what you’d like to purchase is something that is often time consuming and annoying, but still most people do it for the money they could potentially save on their order. Honey has the ability to save you this time and effort and find not only a coupon, but the best coupon that could be used for your specific order. Instead of searching through several different websites to find a promo code that might not even work, Honey will find it for you with a single click of a button. Personally, I find it very useful in part because even on websites where you wouldn’t think to check for a coupon, Honey will still search for you, and all it takes is one click to see if it found anything. I’ve had several experiences where honey has found me a coupon and saved me money when I would have never thought to take the time to look for one myself. With the Honey logo conveniently located at the top op your browser after downloading it, it couldn’t be any easier for the customer. In the world today, there seems to be a clear trend in new technology with the goal to make the lives of consumers easier. This is what customer’s value most and look for in everything they do, and that is exactly what Honey provides. There is no doubt that Honey follows this trend successfully as it aims to save its customers time in their search for discounts. Another part of Honey that I found to be very interesting that I did not know about before reading your blog is that they not only find the consumer discounts, but alternatives to find the same product somewhere else for a cheaper price. Everyone values money, and everyone values saving money whenever possible. Honeys effort to help consumers do this is what will drive it popularity as it becomes better know publically.

Justin Friedlander said...

 I read through the post about Honey, the new money-saving extension on Google Chrome that locates coupons for online shoppers whenever it is activated. I was truly astounded by its simplicity and genius because coupons have always existed for the taking online. The problem has been that the time transaction costs of searching for them before finalizing a purchase has often outweighed the benefits of the actual coupons. Honey increases the economic efficiency for online buyers tenfold. I was also interested in Honey’s partnership with Amazon. Amazon has been developing a similar concept with Amazon Go. Amazon Go is an upcoming store that will involve connecting smartphones to the store’s shelves. People will be able to use Amazon’s new Walk Out technology, which senses when a product has been taken from a shelf and automatically charges it from the person. Customers can completely skip checkout lines and just walk out of the store with whatever they want. For me, it appears that Amazon Go is the real-world manifestation of Honey’s idea. Both innovations use new-age analytics and technology to make the shopping experience simpler and quicker.

Jason Baskind said...

After reading this blog I immediately went and downloaded this extension for chrome. There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like there is a promo code or discount code out there on the web, but not being able to find it, or even just not wanting to go through the hassle of trying to find a code that works. After testing out this chrome extension, I believe that this extension is extremely convenient and user friendly. It is awesome that a bunch of codes pop up with just one click. It also states just how many people have used the code and how recently it was used. The work is done right for me and I agree with you that it is so much more convenient. I honestly disagree with anyone who knocks this extension due to it being spyware or virus starters. When talking to my friends about it, they have seen no issues with viruses or anything of that sort. If the codes are already out there in the web somewhere, then I do not see any issue with this extension finding them for you. Yes, sometimes it is not successful, but often times it is. I think that this is a really cool step for technology and adds so much customer convenience. I have already used it for one purchase and I am sure I will use it for many more. I am very glad I came across this blog post.

Bryce Carrasco said...

This is a perfect example demonstrating the evolution of the e-commerce space aided by artificial intelligence. Programs like honey among others work in the same way to identify trends and consumer behavior through predictive analytics. The usefulness of programs like honey benefit both sides of the spectrum, the buyers and the sellers. Using analytics to target consumers with coupons for products they are buying instantaneously makes the online shopping experience very efficient. One reason, people do not need to look through various websites looking for the same product due to price differences; this is very similar to what shoptagr is doing for online shoppers. Shoptagr is offering a universal platform to buy products at the lowest prices using various websites and allowing shoppers to quickly get what they want. Honey complements that service perfectly by bringing the coupon and discount shopping process together in order to increase efficiency. As the trend indicates, artificial intelligence will continue to grow in prominence throughout the civilized world and will re-shape information technology continuously as the innovation will continue to soar as companies like Amazon expand further. Honey is a great tool for online shoppers, and I think if the program is running efficiently it will continue to grow in popularity as time progresses.

matt cannon said...

After reading this post about Honey I was fascinated with the idea of it. In a world where time is money and money is time, Honey makes sure you save both. The idea that once an item is added to the cart, a search for a coupon is already happening and if found applied. Finding coupons that are still valid is frustrating. I think that time and money are both of essence Honey has a huge potential to grow and be successful. I am left wondering though how George Ruan and the rest of Honey plan to make money off this and the stores feel. In your post it is mentioned how they have partnerships with a few merchants but doesn’t say what type of deal. I think that if Honey wants to expand and reach full potential they are going to need money. If they are providing coupons free of charge I don’t see how they are making enough money to be able to do that. I also wonder what is going to happen with the merchants. If a lot of people start purchasing from stores always using discounts they are losing money. It will be interesting to see stores getting involved and what they have to say.

Another thing it made me think about was what if Honey decided to start selling the data from their searches. It brings up the possibility of cyber security being at risk. Since the new administration took over, the repealing of the law that covered this problem has been in process. This will allow companies to be able to buy consumers information for marketing and targeting practices. Then companies will also have a direct way to contact you and promote themselves.

I think it is cool that Honey is able to do this and help people out. The way that person spent little money on an expensive vacation was really cool. Honey right now is helping people which is good. I just hope it stays that way and can expand. I think the partnership with Amazon is great since Amazon is a huge company. If they can grow with Amazon I think that would be the best move for them. Amazon is one of the most dominant companies in e-commerce right now and with the help of Honey it will dominate almost the whole industry.

Michael Bacci said...

I love that you made your blog post about this software because it is a great technology that I was completely unaware of until now. As a thrifty consumer, I am always searching for online coupons and promo codes to use. Unfortunately, the process is very time consuming. The process includes sifting through various different websites that pop up after a google search for “coupon codes for x” or “promo codes for x.” You then have to deal with the frustrating process of clearing your way through popups and advertisements. Once at this point, I then have to sit there copy and pasting the coupon codes or promo codes into the target website to see if any of them actually work or not. More often than not, the code doesn’t work and you have to keep searching through the number of different websites offering discount codes. Honey’s software has obviously had similar problems picking out the useful coupons. In my experience, this will be a difficult problem to get around. The best solution I see is for Honey to become a full service provider, a company that sources the coupon codes and also provides them to customers. This way it can better regulate the stock of coupons that are out there. If they are able to provide an honest and trustworthy source, I see them having no problem taking over in this area. Consumers like me will be happy to divert all of their business through them if they can be a trusty, surefire source for your online coupons.

The only problem with your blog post and the original article is that it lacks details about how Honey’s service actually work. As a student interested in technology and information systems, it really doesnt provide me any information about Honey. It certainly does a good job making the case from why someone should consider Honey as a product to use but it doesn’t provide any details about how it works. I would be very interested in how the company was able to develop the software, how the software works or maybe how the software deals with bogus or expired coupon codes.

Nevell Provo said...

Personally, I think the idea of honey is not only clever but very helpful. As a frequent online shopper I am constantly looking for deals and coupons. However, my search is a little more personal, I'm usually consulting with a friend or friend of friend for promo codes and things of that sort. This usually takes place on social media sites or through specific long winded google searches. I feel a platform like honey is great for that convenience we all know and love. It will be much easier to have a search engine do all the work for you.
Here goes those algorithms again. It seems like since I've joined this info system class all we've heard about is algorithms. They seem like the greatest thing since slice bread. Which brings another conversation, if you master algorithms, you might be in a position to get a job for the rest of your life. Netflix, Amason, Nike, it seems like algorithms and success are synonymous.
I'm interested to see how honey uses these algorithms, who creates them, and how much they cost. In 2017 I'd assume they aren't crazy expensive as they once were, but for honey a smaller c Company I'm sure this is still costly. And how exactly do they make money? Is it based off of advertising, do they get a percentage for essentially referring people to companies. Are these companies ok with this? Because technically they aren't getting full payment from customers. Coupons are usually offered as incentive, per marketing and Econ. However, with this easy to use app any customer can go and find a deal quick and easy. Why would I as a customer pay more, why would I pay the original price when I have coupons easily accessible.
None the less, this is a great idea, how we, it will be interesting to see their future and how big companies react to them.