Certification Tips for Monetized Alexa Skills

Aaron Tang Jul 15, 2019
Certification Make Money Tips & Tools Tutorial

Every skill published to the Alexa Skills Store goes through a certification process, making sure that Alexa customers are presented with a delightful and engaging experience. Just as we are invested in providing a great customer experience, we are deeply invested in the developer experience for creating these engaging skills.

In-skill purchasing (ISP) lets you sell premium content such as game features and interactive stories with a custom interaction model. Buying in-skill products should be seamless to a customer. Following the tips in this blog will help you achieve that experience. Customers may ask to shop in-skill products or agree to purchase suggestions you make while they interact with your skill. In-skill purchasing uses the payment options already associated with their Amazon account.

This blog will explore a few common skill certification pitfalls that are relatively easy to avoid. Addressing these upfront should lead to an improved certification experience for you.

1. Only Reference Premium Content in the Language Models that Support In-Skill Purchasing

At this time, In-Skill purchasing is available only for Alexa skills in select languages. If your skill supports languages other than the ones where ISP is supported, ensure you do not reference premium content in the unsupported languages. Your welcome prompts, skill interaction, and help prompts should not indicate any references to premium content. Refer to Choose Pricing, Languages, and Distribution for In-Skill Products and Use In-Skill Product Service APIs pages for tips on adding in-skill products to supported languages.

2. Allow Your Customers to Cancel or Refund Their Purchases

All monetized skills should allow the customers to cancel or refund their purchases. To support cancellation or refund requests, you should build a custom intent to support a refund/cancellation request and add code to handle the custom intent, which starts a cancellation flow by sending a directive. Refer to the Handle a refund or cancel request section of ISP documentation for an easy reference on how to implement this feature.

3. Offer Purchase Suggestions (Upsells) Effectively for Every In-Skill Product

Proactively offer products related to how the customer is currently interacting with your skill. You would need to check whether a customer owns a product from the saved list and pass the product you want to upsell as well as a message relevant to that product to Amazon's purchase flow. To offer purchase suggestions, add code that starts the purchase flow with a directive. Refer to Offer Purchase Suggestions and Help Customers find your in-skill products sections of the ISP documentation for resources on how to implement purchase offers. Never include price or offer details in the upsell message, as they will already be provided in the purchase flow by Alexa. We also recommend to offer a reminder in your skill interaction, as a great way to encourage customers to explore the premium content.

4. Add Direct Support for Purchase Requests

Enable customers to directly purchase an in-skill product that they are interested in, without having to go through an upsell or purchase suggestion during the skill interaction. To do so, build a custom intent to support a purchase request by adding code to handle the custom intent, and start a purchase flow by sending a directive. Refer to Add support for purchase requests section of the ISP documentation for steps to implement a direct purchase request.

5. Allow Customers to Interact with the Available Content After the Purchase Flow

Whether or not your customer buys an entitlement or consumable, or signs up for a subscription, you'll need to create a graceful hand off from the Amazon purchase flow back to your skill. If a customer purchases or subscribes to the product, ensure that you provide them with the premium content as soon as the purchase is complete. And remember to plan an alternative if the customer decides not to purchase. Refer to Handling the post-purchase flow documentation for techniques to handle this.

Ask for Help

If you run into any issues, we're here to help. In our skill certification feedback email, you will find a summary of any issues we've identified, step-by-step instructions on how to reproduce each issue (when needed), and guidance to address them to move your skill forward in the certification process. If you believe we've misunderstood the implementation of your skill, please let us know through the testing instructions field in the developer console.

If you have any questions throughout the skill-building process, you can post questions and discuss with other Alexa skill developers on our developer forum, or connect with us through our contact form.

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