Honey, the useful web browser add-on which automatically finds and applies promo codes to your orders when shopping online, is today launching a new version of its service (aka “Honey 2.0″) that introduces a universal shopping cart. The feature is designed to allow consumers to buy from multiple stores in one online shopping session, then use your saved billing and shipping information to complete the checkout process in seconds.
Founded in late 2012, Honey’s goal has been to simplify online shopping – an activity that still requires tedious form-filling, manual entry of payment information, and quite a bit of online research in order to find the best prices or locate available promo codes (which only sometimes work!) in order to receive a discount on your purchases.
With Honey installed, online shoppers previously had been presented with an additional button on the checkout screen of their favorite stores. When clicked, Honey would scour the web for available promo codes, and try them all until it finds those that work and provide the best deal.
I’ve personally used Honey since shortly after its debut, finding savings on everything from shoes to pizza to photo prints to electronics and more. It’s sort of a no-brainer.
Co-founders Ryan Hudson and George Ruan knew they had a hit on their hands after launch, when one early user hired to help bug test liked the product so much, he posted it to Reddit, where Honey quickly went viral. By spring 2013, Honey reached over 200,000 users and raised a small seed round. Today, Ruan says Honey has grown to 900,000 users organically.
Now comes the second phase on the startup’s roadmap: the universal shopping cart.
With the update, shoppers who click on the Honey browser button while on a product page will see an “Add To Cart” button slide in from the right side of the screen. You’ll then click this button to add your item to Honey’s universal shopping cart, and can then continue to shop online at that store or others, repeating the same process when you find items you want to buy.
When you’re ready to actually pay, you click “View Cart” and Honey will launch a small window that appears over top of the website you’re currently visiting. It then proceeds to find the best promo code or other savings for all your saved items, and fills out the retailers’ checkout forms programmatically. You can save your checkout information in Honey once, and it can be used on any store – even those you’ve never shopped on before, explains Ruan.
Honey also retrieves the shipping information for each store, so you know when your products will arrive. Meanwhile, from the merchant’s perspective, it’s as if you shopped on their site directly, meaning Honey won’t interfere with reward points, returns, warranties or other concerns.
Honey works across over 100 stores, while the auto-couponing feature is rolling out to select stores to start, and will reach all Honey’s supported stores soon.
“Everything is exactly the same as if you pulled out your credit card and went through the checkout process manually,” says Ruan. “We are simply automating the entire check out flow in the same way we’ve automated the coupon entry process,” he adds.
With the update, Honey now better competes with newer rival, Y Combinator-backed Zinc, whose advantage for consumers is a centralized dashboard for order management, as well as the option to pay with other means the retailer might not natively support, like bitcoin or Dwolla, for example.
Ruan says that Honey users today are viewing 72 million product pages every month and spending over $40 million. The service is saving those users roughly $1 million every month, and has saved close to $9 million to date.
To use Honey 2.0, you’ll need to visit the Honey website and install the browser add-on. (Remove the old version first, if you’re already a user). I also found you also needed to relaunch the browser post-installation to see the button appear.
But again, it’s kind of a no-brainer.