Nothing feels worse than walking into a store and buying something a bit out of your price range, only to discover you had a coupon once you’re in the comfort of your home and safe from the throng of shoppers schlepping around the mall on any given Saturday.
But, what if you could skip the regret altogether?
Christina Chang and Melinda Hwang, MIT Sloan and Wellesley College alums, had both missed out on one too many deals in their shopping-filled days. After talking more about the solutions out there—or lack thereof—they decided to develop a solution of their own: Pretty Penny.
Pretty Penny is a Google Chrome add-on that instantly delivers users coupons from a variety of retailers, including Nordstrom, Saks and Macy’s. Designed with the busy, young professional and fashionista in mind, the database is updated daily, so shoppers don’t need to keep checking back in to any one site or succumb to a store’s mass emails.
“Usually when we’re shopping, it’s been a really long day and we don’t want to go through the effort of searching for something,” Chang says, referring to why they wanted to make the application so simple.
With Pretty Penny, shoppers can browse online like they normally would, all while the tool is identifying the website a user is visiting, searching for relevant coupons and offers, and then displaying those in the upper right hand corner of the screen without blocking any pertinent information.
“There’s nothing spammy here,” Hwang says, claiming they’re trying to build a brand that’s trustworthy, elegant and easy-to-use. “We’re bringing the coupon to you while you shop.”
The duo’s main focus has been on simplicity and design. “We didn’t want it to look intrusive,” Hwang says. “We wanted something very subtle.”
And that’s exactly what they’ve provided. I downloaded Pretty Penny on my own computer and then visited Saks. All that popped up in the corner of my screen was a small “PP.” After clicking on the circle, I was shown both the coupons and deals Saks is currently offering. Obtaining a coupon code was then as simple as a click. I was able to copy my code and paste it directly into the promo field at my time of checkout, simply minimizing the Pretty Penny box later on.
Pretty Penny has already formed partnerships with hundreds of stores, according to Chang, who acknowledges there are several others they’re in the process of building that relationship with. Their key selling point? “We’re helping [retailers] close the sale,” Chang says, by showing shoppers’ any available coupons without them ever having to navigate away from the page.
Moving forward, Pretty Penny will start expanding to other browsers, as well as roll out a mobile app, once they refine their product a bit more. “We want to make this product much smarter and much more customized,” Chang says. The priority now, however, is to “refine the current base model, expand it out and move toward mobile.”
In the years to come, Hwang admits she hopes Pretty Penny can become the “shopping cart for the web.” She sees users being able to save items they want and then later be notified when those items go on sale.
To see Pretty Penny in action for yourself, install the app by clicking here.