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October 18, 2018Jeff Blankenburg
With the recent release of consumables, you now have three ways to deliver premium experiences to customers with in-skill purchasing (ISP). In addition to selling consumables that customers can buy, use, and buy again, you can sell subscriptions and one-time purchases.
With a variety of in-skill products to offer, it’s important to think about which one can help you best enhance your skill through premium content. Before you start adding in-skill products, consider which product type aligns with your skill’s experience and can make your voice experience more delightful and engaging.
To help you out, here I cover the three types of in-skill products and share ideas for using each of them in your own skills.
Consumables are in-skill products that can be depleted and re-purchased. These could be hints that a customer might need during a game, or coins that are your in-game currency. It might also be a product that has a time-related expiration, like access to a Halloween feature that is only available in October.
Generally, you can implement consumables quickly because they require less “new” content than subscriptions or one-time purchases. Consumables can be as simple as a single hint in an already existing experience. If your skill doesn’t require you to create a lot fresh content on a regular basis to deliver a premium experience, then consumables could be a great route for you.
Here are a couple of great examples of consumables in skills you can use today:
Yes Sire is a game where you are making decisions about your kingdom. Your score goes up or down, depending on which decisions you make. The developers use consumables to help customers stay in the game, even when their entire kingdom has turned against them. When your score reaches 0, you can buy a consumable product that gives you back 500 points.
Hypno Therapist offers short hypnotherapy sessions. In addition to a subscription that gives you access to their entire library, customers can also buy a pack of ten credits, which they can use to unlock the sessions that most interest them. Once a customer has used up their credits, they can buy ten more.
Subscriptions are auto-renewing, time-based in-skill products. You can use subscriptions in your skills for things like monthly access to new stories, or access to all of the categories of a trivia game.
Double Jeopardy in the Jeopardy skill is a great example of a subscription. With your subscription, you can get six additional Double Jeopardy answers to quiz yourself with in Jeopardy each weekday. This is on top of the six free Single Jeopardy questions that all customers have access to.
Big Sky provides “better weather for Alexa” and delivers personalized weather information with just the amount of detail the customer asks for. With the subscription, customers get additional personalization features. For example, customers can set up additional addresses, each with its own nickname, such as “Mom’s House” or “The Beach.” The subscription also unlocks customized weather alerts, among other features.
One-time purchases, or entitlements, are products that are purchased once and then are always available. This might be access to a specific interactive story, or a powerful tool in an adventure game. Because these purchases are permanent, they’re a natural fit for specific pieces of content that a customer will return to time and time again.
In Escape the Room, the developer took hints to a different level by offering them as a one-time purchase. Once you’ve unlocked the “game master,” you can get hints at any part of the adventure just by asking for a hint.
The party game Heads Up offers a number of different categories of decks you can use while you play the game. Each deck can be unlocked with a one-time purchase, which makes it easy to continue playing the game after you’ve played through their extensive free experience.
For each skill and in-skill product type, it’s important to remember a few key best practices:
You can make money for eligible skills that drive some of the highest customer engagement with Alexa Developer Rewards. You can also make money with Alexa skills using in-skill purchasing or Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills. Download our introductory guide to learn more.