SAN JOSE, Calif.– November 20, 2019 – PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) announced that it has agreed to acquire Honey Science Corporation, a rapidly-growing technology platform for shopping and rewards, for approximately $4 billion. Honey, in combination with PayPal’s two-sided network, will transform the shopping experience for PayPal’s consumers while increasing sales and customer engagement for its merchants.
The acquisition supports PayPal and Honey’s shared mission to simplify and personalize shopping experiences for consumers while driving conversion and increasing consumer engagement and sales for merchants. The combination will help accelerate growth across both companies. Honey will accelerate its growth by driving adoption among PayPal and Venmo’s more than 275 million active consumer accounts and sourcing exclusive offers from PayPal’s extensive network of 24 million merchant accounts. Honey will enable PayPal to reach consumers at the beginning of their shopping journeys and will enhance PayPal’s ability to help merchants acquire and convert consumers by delivering offers that are personalized, timely, and optimized across channels.
What is honey ??
Founded in 2012, Honey is best known as a popular discovery tool that helps consumers find savings as they shop online. Honey has continued to grow and evolve, expanding its suite of products and services to include a mobile shopping assistant, offers and rewards program, and price-tracking tools and alerts. With approximately 17 million monthly active users, Honey has helped millions of people find more than $1 billion in savings in the past year. Honey currently works across approximately 30,000 online retailers ranging from fashion and technology to travel and pizza delivery.
Honey Science Corporation is an L.A.-based tech company building tools to help people save time and money when shopping online. What started as a browser extension has grown into a suite of free tools that help everyone shop with confidence. From notifying you when a price drops to showing you the lowest prices available, Honey provides you with the information that you need to make the best decisions with your money. With approximately 17 million monthly active users, Honey has helped millions of people find more than $1 billion in savings in the past year. Visit www.joinhoney.com to shop smarter.
Why Did PayPal Pay $4 Billion for a Coupon Browser Extension?
Honey’s value may be in its mobile app, which solved a problem retailers have struggled with for years—and could give PayPal an edge.
Is that worth $4 billion, though? “I’m scratching my head,” says Sucharita Kodali, an eCommerce and retail analyst at the market research firm Forrester. “I don’t know what [PayPal] sees.”
here’s a number of different ways PayPal could integrate Honey into its business, like charging existing PayPal merchants an additional fee to use Honey. But that’s an unlikely outcome, according to Kodali. Stores may be unwilling to make coupon codes so easily accessible, and many “already complain about how much PayPal costs them anyway,” she says.
Kodali says one compelling aspect of Honey is its mobile app, where consumers can add items from different retailers to their cart and pay for them all at once. “That has been something that nobody in retail has solved,” she says. “That’s the only thing that I could imagine could take on a $4 billion evaluation.” Instead of shopping on Amazon, you can use Honey to buy from all your favorite stores at the same time, and automatically apply any available coupons. It’s a valuable service that could help differentiate PayPal from everyone else.
A spokesperson for PayPal confirmed that the company was particularly interested in some of the features of Honey’s app, and how these could be integrated into Venmo and PayPal.
How the PayPal Honey deal could reshape eCommerce
The holy trinity in the customer journey is identity, behavior, and intent.
It starts with the data. Until now, PayPal has one of the best data sets of customer identity, but it only had data at the end of a customer’s journey online. It had no lead funnel; no intent or rich behavior data, meaning it didn’t have access to a customer’s intent to purchase or to what customers were searching or researching online.
Essentially, PayPal had the identity (it knows who you are), and it had the behavior (it knows your behavior when you make a purchase). Now, with intent data, it can also predict what’s likely to come next.
PayPal now has a powerful two-sided platform for customer engagement, like Amazon or Facebook, that takes the company beyond the transactional relationship to get the best deals for its customers and engage with them. And it can do this in a personalized way. From a customer experience (CX) perspective, there’s now a single gateway approach. If the customer is logged into PayPal and has the Honey browsing extension activated, PayPal has complete visibility.
The deal still needs to be approved by regulators, who are increasingly wary of Big Tech’s market power and may apply greater scrutiny to large acquisitions. There’s also the risk that Google or Amazon will copy Honey’s core functionality on their platforms, like by building their own discount code aggregators. Last month, Google released a new version of Google Shopping, which includes features like the ability to track product prices, a service Honey already offers. Honey may end up being an important asset for PayPal, but there’s no guarantee who will come out on top as the online payments industry gets more competitive.