Drive engagement by making your skill a part of customers' daily lives with the Alexa Routines Kit

Staff Writer Jul 20, 2022
Alexa Live Alexa Skills

Today, Amazon announced the developer preview of the Alexa Routines Kit. The Alexa Routines Kit enables skill builders to configure Routines, and offer them as pre-built Routines to their customers during their skill interactions. Leading brands like National Public Radio and Jaguar Land Rover are using the Alexa Routines Kit to drive customer engagement. 

Customers can use Routines to automatically execute a sequence of actions based on a trigger event such as a particular time of day. Routines allow customers to group multiple actions together so that they don’t have to invoke each one separately. For example, a customer can set up a Routine, so that Alexa wishes them good morning, reads the news briefing, and provides the weather update on weekdays at 8 a.m. In this example, the 8 a.m. time trigger is ambient, and invokes the Routine automatically without any customer input.

Because Routines enable customers to simplify their lives by automating everyday tasks, their popularity has grown sharply. Over the last two years, the number of monthly Routines users has quadrupled. In addition, the monthly engagement for customers using a skill in a routine is seven times higher and their six-month retention is eight times greater compared to customers who don’t use that skill in a Routine.

Customers often create Routines from scratch using the Alexa mobile app by specifying triggers (example: when a customer dismisses an alarm in the morning) and actions (when a customer turns on the kitchen light, turns on the coffee maker, and plays the ‘morning playlist’). While this experience provides customers with the flexibility to be creative with their Routines, it takes some effort to set-up. In addition, we know customers might want some inspiration on useful Routines ideas. 

To make this experience better for both customers and skill developers, we conceived the concept of pre-built Routines— offered through the Alexa mobile app and during customers’ voice interactions with Alexa. Customers can enable pre-built Routines with a couple of clicks in the Alexa app or through simple voice consent when Routines are offered during their interactions with Alexa. Due to the ease with which customers can enable these pre-built Routines and their utility, more than 50% of Routines created now are pre-built. 

Now, skill builders like you can offer such useful pre-built Routines to your customers. With the Alexa Routines Kit, you can create a Routine in which your skill is embedded and offer this as a pre-packaged Routine to your customers when they interact with your skill. The Alexa Routines Kit enables your customers to discover useful Routines and easily enable them using their voice in a natural way. During the Routine offer experience, Alexa asks customers if they would like to enable the pre-built Routine offered by your skill. Alexa then offers them a simple way to opt-in to the offer.

Since Routines promote habitual behavior, your skill becomes a part of your customers’ daily lives, generating recurring traffic.

Examples of skill builders using the Alexa Routines Kit

Skill builders across various categories are using the Alexa Routines Kit in a number of innovative ways to drive engagement and retention.

  • News - National Public Radio (NPR):
    • Start your day with NPR News: Plays weather and then NPR News when a customer says, “Alexa, start my day”.
    • Ambient Morning Radio: Tells the current date and then plays NPR Radio at a scheduled time every morning.
  • Radio - All India Radio (AIR):
    • All India Radio Mornings: Plays Vividh Bharati, AIR’s most popular station, at a scheduled time every morning.
  • Health and Fitness - Endel:
    • Sleep Routine: Start the Sleep soundscape every day at a scheduled time. 
    • Relax Routine: Start the Relax soundscape every day at a sunset.
    • Focus Routine: Start the Wind Down soundscape every day at sunset.
  • Music & Audio - Sleep Jar:
    • Good Night Routine: Plays the customer’s requested sleep sound when customer says “Alexa, good night”.
  • Auto - Jaguar Land Rover:
    • Goodnight Routine: Will provide Jaguar Land Rover customers an update if the customer's vehicle is locked and reminds them of the charge or fuel level at the end of the day. It also enables Guardian Mode, which provides customers with alerts if there’s an unauthorized interaction with their vehicle.

Getting started with the Alexa Routines Kit

Skill builders can integrate their skills with the Alexa Routines Kit in four simple steps:

  1. Explore the pre-defined triggers and actions offered out-of-the-box by Alexa Routines Kit. There are four triggers (voice, time, sunrise, and sunset) and seven actions (announcement, date, time, weather, news, skill launch, custom tasks).
  2. Determine the specific Routine you want to offer to your customers. You can package your skill with out-of-the-box triggers and actions to create compelling Routines.
  3. Create the Routines payload. The payload is a JSON representation of the Routine that you’re offering.
  4. Send the Routines payload to Alexa. When you want to offer the Routine to your customers during skill interactions, send the Routines payload to Alexa using a skill connection request. Alexa will create a voice prompt representing the offer for the pre-built Routine using your JSON payload and deliver it to your customers. Once the customer opts into the offer, Alexa creates the corresponding Routine on their behalf. 

Review the technical documentation

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