Send Timely Information to Your Alexa Skill Customers with the ProactiveEvents API

June Lee Dec 12, 2018
Retention News

We are excited to announce the availability of the ProactiveEvents API. With the API, you can enable your Alexa skills to send notifications to customers who have granted permissions. By providing timely, relevant information, you can keep your customers engaged and retain them effectively. The Gomi Maru skill, which helps with recycling and garbage collection in Japan, is a great example. “The garbage collection schedules in Japan are different every week, and that makes it difficult for customers to remember when it’s garbage day. Thanks to the ProactiveEvents API, we built a skill that proactively sends notifications to customers on the garbage collection days. It helps customers avoid having to keep garbage in their houses for a long time,” says Shinya Terasaki, Principal Engineer at Shaxware Inc.

How It Works

You can simply choose from a pre-defined set of schemas that best describe your events and send proactive events information that conforms to a schema via the Skill Management API (SMAPI) as part of a skill manifest. Each schema has a predefined template that represents the text read back to the end customers by Alexa. For example, the TorAlarm Skill in Germany uses the sports event schema to send notifications to customers who are soccer fans whenever their favorite team scores a goal. If you are in retail, you may want to use the order status schema and send notifications to customers about their order status. A notification using the order status schema looks like the following: “Your order from <company> has been shipped and will arrive <date>”. In this example, you simply need to supply the <company> and <date> information. Once the proactive events are created by calling the ProactiveEvents API, Alexa does the heavy lifting of checking which customers are subscribed to receive events, creating notifications, and delivering them to customers’ Alexa-enabled devices. To ensure great customer experience, make sure your notifications are highly relevant, and timely. Our goal is to delight customers with every notification.

To make sure Alexa notifications provide relevant updates, customers have the ability to enable notifications for each skill, and they can opt out at any time using the Alexa app. When an Alexa notification is sent, customers see a yellow light on devices without screens and an on-screen banner on devices with screens that indicate that they have new notifications. Customers can ask Alexa to read their notifications when they want to hear them.

Try the ProactiveEvents API Today

Daniel Mittendorf, a skill developer in Germany who integrated the ProactiveEvents API for his Watch TV Stream Player skill mentioned that it was very easy to implement the product. "With the ProactiveEvents API, my skill enables customers to get notified about the upcoming shows or movies that are playing on their favorite German TV channels. It was very easy to use the ProactiveEvents to create notifications" says Mittendorf.

ProactiveEvents API is available in all locales supported by Alexa. Review our technical documentation to learn more. If you have integrated the Notifications API previously offered in extended preview, you can follow instructions in our technical documentation to migrate over to the ProactiveEvents API. As we offer more ways for your skills to send notifications in the future, you’ll be able to take advantage of them via ProactiveEvents API without integrating a new API.