In-Skill Purchasing FAQ
The following frequently asked questions (FAQ) answer your most common questions about in-skill purchasing. The FAQ includes answers to general questions about how in-skill purchasing works, details about payment and taxes, and what the customer experience is like.
- Q: What kind of in-skill products can I sell?
You can sell digital content or features that are used within the Alexa skill experience. The content or features include such things as game products, interactive stories, unlocked features, and more. You can add three types of in-skill purchases to your skill. The first is a one-time purchase, which is an entitlement to a product and doesn't expire. Examples include game expansion packs, unlocked features, extra characters, and more. The second is a subscription, which provides ongoing access to content or a service, and charges the customer on a recurring basis unless they decide to cancel. The third is a consumable, which provides content or features that customers can purchase, deplete, and purchase again. Examples include hints for a game, in-game currency, extra lives, or "day passes" for premium content.
- Q: I would like to charge customers to enable my Alexa skill. How can I do that?
Don't charge customers to enable your skill. You can only charge for additional content that further enhances the skill experience. This policy allows customers to enjoy your skill and assess its value before investing.
- Q: Can I sell a consumable product?
Yes. A consumable is a type of content or feature that customers can purchase, deplete, and purchase again. Examples include an in-game currency or extra lives. Offering consumables in your skill requires you to save and manage the customer's inventory. For details, see Add ISP Support to Your Skill Code.
- Q: How do I keep track of the consumable products a customer has purchased and used?
Your skill must manage the customer's inventory and store it in persistent storage. Alexa keeps track of the total number times the customer purchased a particular product, but this tracking doesn't reflect the customer's use of the product. Your skill must track usage by mapping the inventory to the customer's
userId. You can use any persistent storage mechanism you want to store this data. For details, see Manage the inventory for consumable purchases.
- Q: What happens if the customer disables my skill after purchasing a consumable product?
If the customer disables and later re-enables a skill offering consumable products, the customer retains the same
userId. You can therefore continue to access the customer's inventory in your persistent storage. If you use the
AlexaSkillEvent.SkillDisabledevent to perform any cleanup after a customer disables your skill, be sure to retain the customer's consumable purchase inventory. For details, see Maintain the user inventory if the user disables and re-enables the skill.
- Q: Can I sell "packs" of multiple items, such as a set of five clues?
Yes.Note: Alexa only tracks the total number of purchases the customer has made and doesn't keep track of multipack sets.
If a customer buys three five-hint packs, Alexa reports just three purchases. Your code must manage converting those purchases to the correct number of items.
- Q: How much can I charge for an in-skill purchase?
For minimum and maximum price values, see Price ranges for in-skill products. Your revenue share is calculated based on the list price you set for your products. If you decide to change the list price after you publish your skill, the skill requires recertification.
- Q: With what frequency can I charge recurring payments for my subscription?
You can renew in-skill subscriptions automatically on a monthly or annual basis.
- Q: Can I offer a trial subscription?
Yes. You can use set a trial subscription period from 0 to 31 days long. Setting the trial subscription to zero results in no trial subscription being offered.
- Q: What is my revenue share?
Developers earn 70 percent of list price. Any discount offered by Amazon is provided to customers at no cost to the developer, and doesn't impact the developer's revenue share.
- Q: Can I earn revenue and Alexa Developer Rewards for the same skill?
Yes, your Alexa skill can earn revenue from in-skill purchases as well as earn rewards for driving customer engagement, assuming it meets the Alexa Developer Rewards eligibility criteria. For details, see Earn Money with Alexa Developer Rewards.
- Q: How do I add an in-skill product to my custom skill?
You can create and manage your in-skill products in the developer console. For details, see Create and Manage In-Skill Products. If you prefer to manage your skills with the Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (ASK CLI), make sure you install the latest version. The ASK CLI provides templates for all three product types (entitlements, consumables, and subscriptions) to help you easily create in-skill products. Then, you add the in-skill product to your Alexa skill, and proceed with getting it tested and certified. For details, see Create and Edit In-Skill Products with the ASK CLI.
- Q: Can I add an in-skill purchase to a child-directed skill?
Kid skills in the US can offer two types of in-skill products – subscriptions and one-time purchases. For details, see Build Premium Experiences for Kid Skills in the US.
- Q: Can I create, test, and publish an in-skill purchase directly in the developer console, without using the command-line interface (ASK CLI)?
Yes. For details, see Create and Manage In-Skill Products.
- Q: I am not a coder. Do I have any alternative mechanisms to build skills with ISP?
In addition to using the developer console or the ASK CLI, you can use tools provided by Voiceflow and Voice Apps to build skills with in-skill purchasing. Voiceflow and Voice Apps offer a visual-design-based approach to skill building that makes it easy for everyone to build skills, from people with zero coding experience to advanced developers.
- Q: Can I beta test my skill with in-skill purchases?
Yes.Note: Beta testers aren't charged for in-skill purchases.
When the beta tests ends, the purchased products are automatically reset. When the skill is live, the customer is charged for in-skill purchases.
For consumable products, keep the customer's beta inventory separate from their live skill inventory. The
purchaseModeproperty returned for an in-skill product indicates whether the purchase was made in a beta test (
TEST) or live skill (
LIVE). For details, see Optionally beta test your skill with in-skill products.
- Q: Do certification requirements differ for skills that include in-skill purchases?
Yes. Amazon reviews and certifies monetized skills based on specific requirements designed to ensure a high-quality experience for paying customers. Any update made via the developer console or Alexa Skill Management API (SMAPI) to a skill offering in-skill products requires that the skill be re-certified. For details, see Certify In-Skill Purchasing Skills.
- Q: How can I monitor the performance of my in-skill purchases?
In the developer console, you can view sales reporting and analytics that include detailed information about offer impressions, conversions, purchases, earnings, refunds, cancellations, and more.Note: Metrics with upsell in the name are only available when you use the upsell directive.
- Q: What happens if I add or delete products from a skill?
You must submit your skill for recertification when you add, delete, or update products. You can completely delete a product from a skill in the development stage, as long as the product has never been available in a live version of the skill. For details, see Delete a product. For a product available in a live skill, you can discontinue the product by deactivating it. Existing customers who previously purchased the product still have access, as described in Discontinue a product in a live skill.
- Q: In which countries or regions can I publish skills that offer in-skill purchases?
In-skill purchasing is available in multiple countries and regions. For details, see Pricing, Languages, and Distribution for In-Skill Products.
- Q: Must I be based in the United States to publish skills that offer in-skill products?
No. Both US and non-US developers can create and publish skills with in-skill products. However, you must publish the skill in a supported Alexa Skills Store. For details, see Countries and regions that support in-skill products. Developers based in India are unable to add in-skill purchasing to their skills in any locale at this time.
- Q: I would like to sell physical goods and services from my skill. How can I do that?
There are two ways to sell physical goods and services that customers would use outside of the Alexa skill experience, such as event tickets, transportation, delivery services, and more. The first way is to use Amazon Pay to simplify the payment process and enable customers to use payment information already in their Amazon account. For details, see Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills Overview. The second is to require customers to follow steps to link the skill to a separate account which stores their payment information. For details, see Understand Account Linking for Alexa Skills.
Payment and taxes
- Q: How and when will I get paid?
You will receive payment at the end of the following month in which the revenue was generated (for example, you are paid at the end of May for revenue generated in April). Payments are issued to the bank account provided in the developer console. For details, see View Your Payments and Earnings.
- Q: How are taxes on my earnings handled?
Amazon will withhold taxes on your earnings based on the tax withholding requirements of your applicable tax authority. For details, see Set Up Tax Forms for Your Account.
- Q: How will customers discover skills with in-skill purchases?
Skills offering in-skill purchases are marked with "In-Skill Purchases Available" in search results and on their skill description page in the Alexa App. Amazon will feature skills offering in-skill products in the Alexa Skills Store and other channels as appropriate.
- Q: What is the customer's purchase experience?
Customers buy content by saying "yes" to a product offer message, which can be generated directly from a customer's request for the product or by the customer responding positively to a proactive suggestion within your skill. The default payment method in their Amazon account will be charged, and they'll receive an order confirmation email. Upon completing the purchase, customers will be returned to the skill to immediately enjoy their premium content. Customers can access their in-skill purchases on all Echo devices and most Alexa-enabled products.
- Q: Can customers purchase in-skill products via the Alexa App or Amazon.com?
Customers can only make in-skill purchases via voice at this time.
- Q: How are returns handled?
Digital purchases from Amazon (including mobile apps, video, and music) are not eligible for refunds. In the case of accidental purchases, customers can contact Amazon Customer Service to request a refund. Refunds are shown in monthly Earning reports and are deducted from monthly payments made to developers.
- Q: How can customers cancel their subscription?
Customers can ask Alexa to cancel a subscription or navigate to the Alexa App to turn off auto-renew for a subscription.