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Honey Business Model: Sticky Success Behind the World’s Favorite Coupon App

Honey Business Model: The Sweet Success Behind the World’s Favorite Coupon App

Everyone loves a good deal, but finding coupons and discounts can be a hassle. That’s where Honey comes in.

Honey is a free browser extension that automatically finds and applies coupon codes for users during online checkout. With over 17 million users globally, Honey has become a leading player in the coupon world.

But how did Honey become the coupon giant we all know and love today? Let’s take a look at the history of Honey and its business model.

Founders of Honey

Ryan Hudson and George Ruan founded Honey in 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The two friends were initially inspired by a frustration with the lack of transparency in online shopping.

They wanted a way to make online shopping simpler and more accessible for everyone. Together, they developed a browser extension that would help users find the best deal on any product they were interested in buying.

Prototype Development

The prototype of the Honey browser extension was launched in 2012 as a desktop-only tool. But as mobile usage became more prevalent, Ryan and George recognized a need for a mobile version of Honey.

In order to fund the development of this mobile app, they turned to investors. Honey secured $1.8 million in seed funding in 2012, with the intention of expanding the user base and developing a mobile app.

Challenges in Funding

Although Honey secured a significant amount of funding for its development, this funding was not without its challenges. As the cost of developing both a desktop and mobile app was high, the investment was not enough to cover it all.

Honey’s founders had to make a tough decision – they decided to focus on the desktop browser extension and delay the launch of the mobile app. This decision allowed Honey to scale the user base before launching the mobile app, which ultimately proved to be the right decision.

Beta Testing and Viral Leak

Honey’s beta testing period proved to be an important moment for the company. In 2013, Honey launched a public beta, inviting users to test out the extension and provide feedback.

Ryan and George saw the value in engaging early adopters and beta testers. They actively listened to feedback and made changes to the app based on user suggestions.

It wasn’t until 2014, when a Reddit user shared Honey with the online community, that Honey became viral. The Reddit post received over 1,000 upvotes and generated thousands of downloads overnight.

From there, Honey continued to spread through word-of-mouth and viral marketing.

Growth of Honey

With its user base growing rapidly, Honey continued to expand its offering. In March 2014, Honey had one million users.

By March 2017, this number had grown to 5 million. In January 2018, Honey secured $50 million in a Series C round of funding.

This round of funding was led by PayPal, and as a result, Honey was acquired by PayPal and renamed to PayPal Honey in November 2019. Moreover, in 2019, Honey launched Gold, a cashback feature.

Gold members earn cashback incentives when shopping at participating stores, the idea being helping customers save money, which solidifies Honey’s mission statement of fostering a fair world.

Acquisition by PayPal and Renaming

The acquisition by PayPal has allowed Honey to scale even further. Honey’s founders have said that the acquisition has given them access to PayPal’s extensive network of merchants and integrations.

This has allowed Honey to expand its offering and provide users with a greater range of deals and savings. Honey’s Business Model

Honey’s mission statement is centered around creating a fair and transparent world.

To achieve this, Honey relies on a mix of affiliate marketing and sales commissions. Honey earns a commission from every purchase made using its extension.

This commission comes from the merchant partners with whom Honey has agreements. Honey’s algorithm scans the web for the best deals and applies them to the user’s cart automatically.

Honey’s Customer Segments

Honey’s primary customer segments are online shoppers who are looking to save money on their purchases. This includes both individual users and stores that are looking to provide their customers with discounts and savings.

Honey’s Value Propositions

Honey provides several value propositions to its users. Some of these include price comparison, alerts, droplist, cashback rewards program, price history, and Amazon integration.

These services help users save money and make the online shopping experience more convenient. Honey’s Channels

Honey’s channels include its website, browser extension, and mobile app.

The browser extension is Honey’s primary offering and is compatible with most major web browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. The mobile app is available on both Android and iOS, making it accessible to users on-the-go.

Honey’s Customer Relationships

Honey established positive customer relationships through social media, customer service, and its website. Honey actively engages with its users on social media by answering questions, responding to feedback, and highlighting deals.

Additionally, Honey has a help center on its website that provides users with tutorials and answers to frequently asked questions. Honey’s Revenue Streams

Honey’s primary revenue stream comes from affiliate marketing and sales commissions.

Honey’s commission fees are paid for by the merchant partners who have agreements with Honey.

Honey’s Key Resources

Honey’s key resources include its patented browser extension, investors, and relationships with e-commerce websites and online shoppers.

Honey’s Key Activities

Honey’s key activities include affiliate marketing, price tracking, price history, customer service, shopping experience, user education, and integration with merchant websites. Honey’s Key Partners

Honey’s key partners include its investors, partner merchant stores, affiliate networks, and marketing partners.

These partnerships help to increase Honey’s reach and provide users with access to a greater range of deals and savings. Honey’s Cost Structure

Honey’s cost structure includes employee salaries, commissions, marketing, technological maintenance, management, administration, and operations.

These costs are necessary for the operation and growth of Honey as a business. Honey’s Competitors

Honey’s competitors include other coupon and deal websites such as RetailMeNot, Flipp, Shopper, and Coupert.

Honey’s SWOT Analysis

Honey’s SWOT analysis shows that while Honey is a free-to-use app and offers users a user-friendly interface and incentives, it has to deal with strict competition and misinformation regarding the app. Despite this, Honey’s brand recognition, customer loyalty, and positive reviews will continue helping the company to succeed and expand into international markets.

In conclusion, Honey’s success is a result of its founders’ desire to improve the online shopping experience. Honey’s business model is centered around creating a fair and transparent world, which resonates with users.

Its value proposition of convenience, savings, and rewards has made it the favorite coupon app for millions of users. As Honey continues to grow and expand, it will continue to provide users with the best deals and savings in an ever-changing online marketplace.

How Honey Makes Money: Unlocking the Secrets Behind the Coupon App Giant

Honey became a global phenomenon by making online shopping easier and providing users with the best deals and savings. But how exactly does Honey make money?

Honey’s business model is centered around affiliate marketing and sales commissions. Let’s explore how Honey earns revenue and provides value to its users.

Affiliate Commission

Honey makes money by partnering with hundreds of e-commerce websites and merchants. Merchants pay Honey a commission fee for every sale made through the Honey browser extension or mobile app.

Honey’s commission fee ranges from 1% to 15% of the sales price and varies depending on the merchant and product. Honey partners with affiliate networks such as Rakuten Marketing and Commission Junction to work with a large number of merchants and retailers.

Affiliate networks act as middlemen between Honey and merchants, making it easier for Honey to find partners and manage commissions. Honey’s customers benefit from this partnership by receiving the best deals and discounts while shopping online.

Honey’s browser extension automatically applies coupon codes and discounts from its merchant partners at the time of checkout, providing users with seamless transactions and great savings.

Merchant Partners

Honey’s merchant partners benefit from the partnership by increasing their sales and customer reach. By partnering with Honey, merchants have access to Honey’s large user base and targeted marketing.

Honey identifies users who are searching for specific products and directs them to the merchant’s website. This partnership helps merchants to make a sale that they might have otherwise lost.

Honey’s commission fee is paid for by the merchant partner, making it a win-win situation for both Honey and the merchant. The merchant pays a commission based on the sale price, while Honey makes a profit while providing users with great deals.

Honey’s SWOT Analysis

Honey’s success as a business has been partly attributed to its free-to-use service, user-friendly interface, and incentives for users. Despite its advantages, Honey also faces challenges in the form of competition and brand recognition.


Free-to-use: Honey is a free service for users. There are no hidden fees or charges for using the browser extension or mobile app.

Instead, Honey earns money through its affiliate commission scheme, although users are not directly impacted by this. User-friendly interface: Honey offers an easy-to-use interface that’s intuitive and easy to navigate.

Honey’s features are explained using simple language, making it easy for users to customize their shopping experience. Incentives: Honey’s cashback and rewards program, Gold, provide users with additional incentives to use the service.

Gold members receive cashback rewards on purchases made at participating stores. Reduced Labor Costs: Honey’s automated system reduces labor costs, making it an efficient business model.

Honey’s algorithm identifies the best deals and applies them to the user’s cart automatically, reducing the need for human intervention.


Strict Competition: Honey operates in a crowded marketplace with a large number of competitors. Other coupon apps such as RetailMeNot, Flipp, Shopper, and Coupert also offer similar features, making it difficult for Honey to stand out.

Customer Loyalty: Honey’s business model is centered around one-time users. This poses a challenge for building customer loyalty, as users may not return to the platform after making a purchase.

Brand Recognition: While Honey is a popular app among users, it may struggle with brand recognition compared to other industry giants. Its acquisition by PayPal and integration with merchant websites has helped increase recognition.


International Markets: Honey can expand its offerings to international markets and focus on global expansion. This will enable it to tap into new demographics and provide services to a wider range of people.

Marketing: Honey can increase its marketing efforts to reach and acquire new customers. This will help to bolster brand recognition and increase awareness of its services.


Misinformation: Honey has faced allegations that it poses a security risk and collects personal information. This misinformation can negatively impact the business and fear in users, leading to a reduction in users or loss of reputation.

Competition: Competitors offering similar services can erode Honey’s user base and market share. Keeping competitive offerings and features can help Honey to maintain its presence in a crowded space.

In conclusion, Honey’s business model is well-positioned to succeed in the increasingly competitive e-commerce space. Its success is attributed to its free-to-use, user-friendly product and incentivizing offerings such as cashback rewards.

Regardless of constant competition and issues with brand recognition, Honey has the opportunity to increase marketing efforts, expand internationally, and deepen partnerships with affiliate networks, merchant partners, and customers. By continuing to improve its service, Honey will remain a player in the world of online shopping, cementing its status as the world’s favorite coupon app.

In conclusion, Honey’s success as a leading coupon app is driven by its business model centered around affiliate marketing and sales commissions. By partnering with hundreds of e-commerce websites and merchants, Honey earns a commission fee for every sale made through its browser extension or mobile app.

This approach benefits both Honey and its merchant partners, providing users with the best deals and savings while increasing merchant sales. Despite facing challenges such as competition and brand recognition, Honey’s strengths lie in its free-to-use service, user-friendly interface, and incentives for users.

With opportunities for international expansion and increased marketing efforts, Honey is poised to continue its growth and provide users with unparalleled savings. By revolutionizing the online shopping experience, Honey has truly earned its place as the world’s favorite coupon app.

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