Alexa developers have already created thousands of kid skills that educate, entertain, and engage kids and families. In June, we announced a preview for developers to start building premium experiences for kid skills. Today, we are excited to announce that developers can now build and publish kid skills with in-skill purchasing (ISP) in the US Alexa Skills Store. There are now two types of products developers can make available in their kid skills using ISP – subscriptions and one-time purchases. From games to instructional skills, you can create premium kid-friendly voice experiences that will appeal to the whole family. To learn more about building premium experiences for kids under 13, including parental controls, read our documentation to get started.
How It Works: Purchasing Controls for Premium Kid Skills
ISP for kid skills is supported by new tools powered by Alexa, including APIs to help you create premium kid skills, as well as purchase controls that help account holders manage them. Using the Alexa app, parents can enable and disable voice purchasing in kid skills, and can also choose whether they would like to approve each purchase individually. Your skill must therefore provide an appropriate experience based on the state of voice purchasing (enabled or disabled), and the state of the product (pending parent approval, denied parent approval, and so on).
By default, when a user is offered premium content in a kid skill and agrees to purchase, the account holder will receive an SMS or email requesting they approve or decline the transaction within 24 hours. If approved, the purchase will be completed using the account holder's default payment method associated with their Amazon account, and the user will have access to the premium content. If declined, the purchase will not be completed, and the user will have access only to the skill’s free content. If the purchase request is neither approved nor declined within 24 hours, the request is canceled. Account holders who want to allow purchases to be made in kid skills but do not wish to receive these approval requests can disable them in the Alexa app, allowing purchases to be made in kid skills without the request for approval. Account holders can opt out from voice purchasing in kid skills, which will disable voice discovery of premium content in kid skills, by disabling the feature in the Alexa app. To manage these settings, open the Alexa App and navigate to Settings -> Alexa Account -> Voice Purchasing -> Kid Skills Purchasing.
How to Build Premium Kid Skills
You will be able to add in-skill purchasing to your kid skills using tools that currently exist: the Alexa Skills Kit Command-Line Interface (ASK CLI) or the Alexa Developer Console. The ASK CLI is best for developers who prefer to write their own code from scratch, whereas the developer console offers a series of step-by-step instructions that developers can click through.
We have also built three new tools to help you implement a thoughtful premium experience that is tailored to the controls set by the account holder:
- voicePurchasing – Provides the current status of the account holder's voice purchasing setting in the Alexa App.
- inSkillProducts – Gets information about the specified product, such as the product type and whether it is purchasable by the account.
- inSkillProductsTransactions – Provides information about transactions, such as if a previous purchase request was denied.
Note that you must use the upsell API when adding ISP to kid skills. Consumables and Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills are not available for kid skills at this time.
Check out the resources below to learn more about how to build premium kids skills.