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How Browser Extensions Can Help You Shop Smarter

While pursuing the universal goal of saving money, shoppers often experience feelings of doubt over whether they’ve gotten the best deals. Online shoppers today have myriad choices available. But even if shoppers had time to extensively comparison shop and join hundreds of mailing lists for coupons, it isn’t easy to know whether a sale, discount, or cheaper merchant price was overlooked.

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What Are The Options?

This fear is the reason why more shoppers are turning to digital assistants. Free browser extensions like Capital One Shopping (formerly Wikibuy) and Honey are popular options to automate the legwork needed to find the best deals.  They also both offer useful iOS and Android shopping apps.

Both extensions are easy to install and are user-friendly. Both work on Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox browsers, and Honey also works on Opera. Both sites have dashboards that place participating merchant specials, watchlists, and reward-point information at the user’s fingertips. When Capital One Shopping users examine deals from alternative retailers, comparisons that include shipping time and cost estimates are available. Capital One Shopping says their service works with over 30,000 retailers, while Honey says they offer price comparisons from over 40,000 retailers.

The shopping apps make it convenient for shoppers to search for deals and coupon codes and to set up price-drop alerts for items on their watchlist. Capital One Shopping’s app also adds the convenience of in-store barcode scanning for comparison shopping. Honey users have the added accessibility of shopping directly through the mobile app.

Photo: Flickr.com/Janet 59

App Features

One useful feature of both services is a coupon code database with crowd-sharing collaboration. In addition to coupons supplied by merchants, users can submit coupon codes that are missing from the database. Successfully used coupons are then available for other shoppers. Before finalizing purchases, both browser extensions offer a button that scans for and automatically applies the best available discount code, where applicable.

Capital One bought Wikibuy in 2018, and PayPal bought Honey in 2019. The parent companies of both services have extensive e-commerce experience that ensures cybersecurity. Trustpilot rates both services highly, and reviews on Google Chrome Store are generally positive for both. To enhance the shopping experience, both apps collect personal information but provide privacy statements to ease consumer worries. Capital One Shopper data is shared with their affiliates, meaning users should expect targeted ads.

Photo: Flickr/401(K) 2012

How Do These Apps Make Money?

The services are supported by commissions made from user purchases from merchant partners. But, in turn, both services offer member reward points redeemable as gift cards. Capital One Shopping Credits are available to members shopping at participating retailers, including in-store shopping when a debit or credit card is linked to the account. Honey Gold points accumulate for members who install the browser extension and shop online at participating retailers, which can then be redeemed for gift cards from many different merchants.

Reward percentages, based on the subtotal spent, can vary greatly from one participating merchant to the next, and users should read the fine print for merchant-determined exclusions. Honey also has time-sensitive exclusive offers that pop up on item pages that can be activated for additional savings.

Photo: QuoteInspector

Choosing Which One To Use

Shopping with Honey works best for Amazon shopping, with drop-lists that inform users of the best deals scoured from Amazon and its sellers. Capital One Shopping appeals to shoppers who use the mobile app to in-store comparison shop and to Amazon shoppers who won’t mind using a different retailer if a lower price is available elsewhere. But some users have been turned off by how the Capital One Shopping service favors eBay results.

So which service saves shoppers more money? The answer is that it depends on the users’ shopping habits. Shoppers should consider installing both apps to see which suits their particular needs better.