560 – Shopping in the Edge

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The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated digital transformation and societal change in many ways, bringing years of progression into a few months to quite a few industries. That change felt revolutionary in some – working from home in organisations that previously would have thought it impossible – and in others, like retail, it may have brought forward things that were going to happen eventually.

Online retail has been a clear beneficiary of people spending more time at home (and possibly less time working), in some cases having more money (since they’re not travelling for fun, eating out less – if at all – and so on). One aspect of online shopping that has grown over the last few years has been the use of voucher codes – perhaps as a way of trying to award loyalty while combating the dominance of certain online behemoths.
(It’s a really compelling podcast, that one – well worth a listen).

Websites who offer vouchers will often target them to existing customers, possibly previous customers who haven’t been active for a while – they’d email a time-limited code that could get money off, or free delivery and so on, or add a “money off your next purchase” printed code, in the box with the thing you just bought. People will often share these codes with their family and friends, and inevitably a load of websites sprung up purporting to offer voucher codes, though quite a few seem to be a vector for spam and unwanted advertising.

clip_image004The Edge browser has recently added a feature which can help to discover active vouchers for a given site – with the idea that they are known to be good, active and not spammy. The idea is that when you go to a site that has current vouchers/coupons, then a little shopping label will clip_image006appear on the right clip_image008side of the address bar, with initial pop-out text which disappears after a few seconds, but the badge on the icon indicates how many vouchers are available. At the opposite end of the address bar, you’ll clip_image010probably see the handbag icon illustrating, on this site, that it’s safe to shop.

Click on the vouchers icon and a pop-up will show the list of coupons; clicking a coupon copies it to the clipboard, ready to paste into some box during the checkout process.

The Shopping feature in Edge has started rolling out, beginning with the various dev and beta channels. To check if it’s on your build, and to enable/disable it, look in edge://settings/privacy and look for the Save time and money… option as pictured above. Right now, the availability of sites with vouchers may seem thin on the ground, but that’s likely a regional thing (ie concentrating on US retailers for now).

An alternative that was previously being pushed somewhat by the Edge team, is Honey – a simple Edge addin which does much the same as the Shopping feature, but more widely supported. On the example given above (from US retailer www.target.com) the orange Honey icon found lots more coupons that had been submitted and supposedly verified by other users saying they worked, and when. As with any of these things, YMMV.