Design a Good Customer Experience for In-Skill Purchases
When you add in-skill purchases, you need to think about ways to provide a premium experience for your customers. In-skill products should enhance the experience of the skill and provide value to the customer beyond the basic (free) skill content.
- How to Think About Free vs Paid Skill Experiences
- Best Practices for Engaging Customers
- Help Customers Find Your In-Skill Products
- Best Practices for Subscriptions
- Handling the Post-Purchase Flow
- Make It Easy to Cancel Premium Content
- Optimize Your Results
- Related Topics
How to Think About Free vs Paid Skill Experiences
Free experiences should:
- Feel worthwhile without the need to pay for content
- Demonstrate enough value to drive interest in your paid experience
- Give customers enough context to clearly understand what they get with paid content
Paid experiences should:
- Extend or enhance your experience with more useful features or tools
- Provide additional content that gives customers something new to experience
Best Practices for Engaging Customers
Your free content is a showcase of what your skill can do on which you can build compelling premium content that further engages customers. You'll need to keep rewarding customer engagement by offering incentives to return to your skill, such as new features and refreshed content. To make sure your skills are highly engaging even before you create your first in-skill product, check out these topics on best practices when building skills:
- Be brief
- Prompt with guidance for the user
- Provide contextual help
- Customize how Alexa responds with SSML
- Display and Behavior Specifications for Alexa-Enabled Devices with a Screen
Help Customers Find Your In-Skill Products
How to Make a Purchase Suggestion
The purchase suggestion is a way to market your in-skill product to customers based on how the customer has used your skill. The purchase suggestion hands off the customer interested in purchasing products to the product flow handled by Amazon, which includes the product description and price. You won't need to provide this in your purchase suggestion to the customer. Learn more about adding products to your skill.
The purchase suggestion is made up of three parts:
- A starting phrase that gracefully transitions from the current state to the offer.
A brief description of the product offered. If your product is an entitlement, be careful not to repeat information that is included in your product's
purchasePromptDescriptionsince customers will hear that in the purchase flow handled by Amazon.
Note: Amazon provides the
purchasePromptDescriptionand price only for entitlements. For subscriptions, Amazon provides the price before confirming the purchase.
- An explicit confirmation (Yes/No) to confirm that the customer is interested, such as, "Wanna learn more?"
The customer has finished the all free content in the skill Treasure Finders.
Alexa: "You found all 6 treasures. Great job! If you'd like more adventures to play, you can now get the Cave Quest expansion pack. Wanna learn more?"
Let's break down how this example fits our purchase suggestion model.
- Transition: "You found all 6 treasures. Great job! If you'd like more adventures to play…"
This transition has Alexa acknowledging that the user completed the content and flows nicely into the purchase suggestion.
- Product description: "…you can now get the Cave Quest expansion pack."
The product description gives a brief overview of the offer.
- Explicit confirmation: "Wanna learn more?"
The customer is given a yes/no confirmation to continue to the purchase flow, which is handled by Amazon.
|Determine whether a customer is interested in your product||Don't include pricing details, this is handled by Amazon|
|Offer relevant products to the customer||Don't offer a sales pitch|
|Summarize what the product will provide to the customer||Never interrupt the customer|
|End with an explicit confirmation (Yes/No) statement||Avoid offering multiple products at the same time|
|Make sure to offer different products each time for variety||Don't keep suggesting the same product, it will feel like an interruption to the customer|
How to Handle Direct Purchasing
If a customer wants to purchase an item directly, you'll need to send them to Amazon's purchase flow without the need for an explicit confirmation. If the customer does not call out the item by name, you will need to ask them which product they want and then send them to the purchase flow.
The customer names an item they want to purchase.
Customer: "Buy the Cave Quest expansion pack"
Alexa (via the Amazon Purchase Flow): "The Cave Quest expansion pack includes 5 new adventures to discover ancient buried treasure. It's $1.99 plus tax. Would you like to buy it?"
The customer wants to purchase an item, but does not specify by name.
Customer: "I want an expansion pack."
Alexa: "I have two expansion packs that continues the adventure you just finished: Cave Quest adventures or Deep Sea puzzle games. Which one would you like?"
Customer: "Deep Sea."
Alexa (via the Amazon Purchase Flow): "Great choice. The Deep Sea expansion pack has 7 new puzzles. It's $3.99 plus tax. Would you like to buy it?"
Offer a Reminder
Reminders are a good way to keep customers engaged with your skill by letting them know what's available. To remind your customers that they can shop your in-skill products, prompt them while using your skill. Remember to provide an offer that is relevant to how they're using the skill with examples of things they can ask for, then resume the free experience. The customer should not have to respond if they don't want to.
The customer is playing the free adventure series and is nearly done with the free content.
Alexa: "You've found 5 out of 6 treasures. Good job! When you're done with this adventure, you can get new adventures to play anytime- just ask me for expansion packs." (Pause)
"Let's keep going to find the last treasure. As you walk in the dark forest…"
You can also tell the customer to come back for new content to play during a logical pause in the dialog flow.
Alexa: "You've solved 3 out of 7 puzzles. If you like this puzzle, you might enjoy playing new monthly puzzles found in Treasure Finders Plus. Just ask me for monthly puzzle or adventures to explore."(Pause)
"Alright, we've got some fun puzzles to solve! In the deep sea you'll find…"
Add a Store Option to Your Skill
If your skill already provides a set of actions when launched, include an option to hear a list of your products as if they were shopping in a store. This gives customers a reliable way to find a product when they're ready to buy.
- Let customers know what to expect by including words like "shop" or "for purchase" in your store option
- Make sure to include your shop option in the Help intent for customers who need further assistance
Let the customer know about the store in the welcome message.
Alexa: "Welcome to Treasure Finders. You can play Treasure Trove, check your score, or hear about more games and puzzles for sale. Which would you like?"
Customer: "What's in the store?"
Alexa: "I have 2 collections to choose from, Cave Quest or Deep Sea puzzles. Which are you interested in?"
Best Practices for Subscriptions
You'll need to specifically call out if a product is part of a subscription series so customers understand there is a recurring cost and new content every month.
Your customer has played all of the content available to them, but may want to play more purchased content.
Alexa: "You've played all of your adventure packs. You might like Treasure Finders Plus which includes 2 new adventures and 3 new puzzles every month to play. Wanna learn more?"
Offer Subscription Trial Periods
Trial periods are a great way for users to get a sense of the monthly content you'll offer with a subscription. Share the benefits a customer may be interested in, but refrain from sharing nonessential details. You'll need to clarify that the trial is available to “new subscribers only”. Past subscribers will not be offered a trial when signing up. You can set a trial period for subscriptions for up to 30 days but don't mention the duration in your trial offer- that will be covered by the Amazon purchase flow.
Your customer wants to play The Chasm, but it's part of a subscription series.
Customer: "Play The Chasm adventure."
Alexa: "The Chasm is only available with a subscription to Treasure Finders Plus. Subscribers get a collection of exclusive adventures, with a new one added each month. New subscribers can try it for free. Wanna learn more?"
Alexa (via the Amazon Purchase Flow): "Treasure Finders Plus is free for 7 days. Then you'll be charged $4.99 a month plus tax. Cancel anytime. Check the Alexa app for terms. Should I start your free trial?"
Handling the Post-Purchase Flow
Whether or not your customer buys an entitlement or signs up for a subscription, you'll need to create a graceful hand off from the Amazon purchase flow back to your skill.
Your customer asked to play The Chasm, which is part of a subscription that they purchased. After the purchase flow, you should immediately fulfill the request.
Alexa: "Let's explore The Chasm. You've made it through the dark woods and come upon a mysterious rift in the ground…"
What if your customer doesn't purchase? You'll still need to handle that as well, depending on the context. If your customer has exhausted all content and has refused other options, you will need to end the session.
The customer has played all free content and does not want to purchase content.
Alexa: "You've found all 6 treasures. Come back anytime to check out new adventures and puzzles. Goodbye."
Make It Easy to Cancel Premium Content
Refunds and cancelations always err on the side of the customer and should never be used as an opportunity to remind them of the products offered. Any refunds and cancelations will be handled by Amazon through the purchase flow again.
Do not change global intents like "cancel", "stop", or "end" to trigger a refund, cancelation, or unsubscribe intent. This will end your skill instead of ending the purchase flow. You must point your skill back to the Amazon purchase flow to handle cancelations instead. Learn more about handling refund requests.
Optimize Your Results
If you find that customers are getting product suggestions in a timely manner but the number of purchases are low, you may want to experiment with changing a few key items with your in-skill product offering.
- Change the list price of your in skill product or modify the trial period for your subscription.
- Update your productOfferDescription and the product summary. Learn more about modifying a product.
- Try changing how often customers hear about your product offerings.
- Reevaluate the content of your product. Do you need to add more content to make it truly a premium experience? If your content is older, it may be time to add a new product to your skill.
Check the Measure Skill Usage page to view metrics on your in-skill product offerings. Tracking the Offer Impressions and Offer Conversion Rate over time will indicate if the changes you make to improve your products are actually working by making your product offering more attractive to customers.
For more information on In-Skill Purchases:
- In-Skill Purchase Overview
- How to Add a Voice Model for In-Skill Purchases
- Adding products to your skill
- Handling refund requests
For more information on in-skill purchase metrics:
For help with designing skills:
- Be brief
- Prompt with guidance for the user
- Writing Contextual Help
- Best Practices for Designing Skills for Alexa-Enabled Devices With a Screen
For more information on prosody and SSML: