Amazon Echo owners spend more on Amazon, says NPD

Amazon introduces Amazon Alexa, Echo and the All-New Echo Dot at a product launch in London We all suspected the Echo’s purpose was – at least in part – to drive more Amazon sales. And that’s exactly what’s happening, according to a new study by NPD Group. The research company found that owners of the Echo spent around 10 percent more after they bought the voice-powered smart speaker than they did before. The NPD Group’s Checkout Tracking… Read More

Airbnb tests outsourcing management to Superhosts to grow inventory and loyalty

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-15-43-47 As Airbnb, the $30 billion private accommodation renting portal, continues to mature and very slowly inch its way to an IPO, it is adding more ways to bring in more properties and hosts to its platform. TechCrunch has learned that Airbnb is working on a new service under the name “Experienced Hosts,” where it connects would-be hosts (those who have homes or space in their… Read More

Anker launches sister brand for home automation

eufy-lamp Smartphone accessory brand Anker is mostly known for its battery packs, chargers and other popular gizmos for gadget fans. In addition to its tech-on-the-go brand, it today announces the launch of Eufy, a new brand for a line of products aimed to make your home life a bit more high-tech. One of the company’s inaugural products is RoboVac 20, a curiously named intelligent light switch. Read More

Naspers’ PayU buys Citrus Pay for $130M in cash to expand in India

shutterstock rupees Hundreds of millions of dollars of investment have been put into commerce startups in the fast-growing market of India, from marketplaces like Flipkart and Snapdeal through to payment startups like PayTM. Now one of the more interesting of these has been acquired. PayU, an online payments company with a focus on developing markets that is owned by South Africa’s Naspers, has… Read More

Houzz now uses deep learning to help you find and buy products in its photos

_0000_visual-match Thanks to its vast repository of beautiful photos, home remodeling platform Houzz can easily give you a major case of home envy. But if you want to bring your home up to the standard of those homes, Houzz has long allowed you to buy products you see in those photos. Now the company is making it even easier to buy even more products. The service now uses a new deep learning-based system that… Read More

Giftbit lets retailers create their own e-commerce currency

disrupt_sf16_giftbit-3795 Giftbit, a company that operates a digital gift card marketplace for online retailers, is launching a new product today at TechCrunch Disrupt SF that will enable merchants to easily create their own custom currency — meaning gift cards, promo codes and refund credits — without having to build their own, internal systems. Available as an API, the new service drops into the… Read More

Breinify tells online retailers what customers want to buy at a specific point in time

breinify3 Think of the last time you shopped online. You probably navigated to a home page that featured a dozen or so items, only one or two of which you may have actually been interested in. And while retailers try to use things like purchase history to predict what you want to buy, we all know that never really works. Why would I want to buy another style of winter jacket if I already bought one for… Read More