Amazon Associates on Alexa brings developers a new way to earn revenue from their skills

Michelle Mullenax Nov 14, 2022
Alexa Skills

In July 2022, Amazon launched the Alexa Shopping Kit, a comprehensive suite of features that allows skill developers to monetize their skill traffic by helping customers discover, research, and purchase relevant products available on Amazon without leaving the skill experience. This launch enabled consumers to learn about products, add them to an Amazon cart to purchase later, or buy them immediately from within the skill, just as they would from Amazon’s web and mobile properties.

Today, we are announcing another addition to the Alexa Shopping Kit - Amazon Associates on Alexa. With this launch, we are bringing one of the largest affiliate marketing programs in the world, Amazon Associates, to Alexa in the US and in the UK. With Amazon Associates on Alexa, skill builders can monetize the product recommendations they surface through Alexa Shopping Actions. They can do this by earning up to 10% commissions on customer purchases of qualifying products that are referred from their skills. 

Developers can pose a question to customers at relevant moments in time to surface their favorite products and recommendations. For example, the developer of a fitness skill can ask an Amazon Echo customer "Would you like to learn more about our favorite yoga mat?" Echo show customers could see offers for yoga mats presented on the display of the device. The developer can then give customers the option to buy recommended products from directly within the skill. Shopping actions are presented only after an explicit opt-in "Yes" response from the customer.

Shopping actions are presented only after an explicit opt-in "Yes" response from the customer.

Building a new revenue stream for the holiday season

Amazon recently announced that tens of millions of customers shopped the company’s Prime Early Access holiday kickoff event. As we enter the holiday shopping season, Michelle Mullenax, senior product manager for Alexa Shopping says that skill builders should take advantage of the Alexa Shopping Kit to recommend products and grow revenue during this time.

Through an embedded shopping experience within a skill, customers can purchase products that are recommended by developers within their skills – and developers will be able to earn a commission on qualifying purchases through the Amazon Associates program.

Amazon Associates is a program that helps creators monetize their content in a way that’s relevant and respectful to customers. Content creators earn up to ten percent in commissions from qualifying products that they recommend. With the launch of Amazon Associates on Alexa, skill developers can tap into the success of this program to grow their revenue with Alexa. 

“This is truly a game-changing moment for skill builders looking to grow their businesses by building with Alexa,” said Mullenax. “Amazon Associates on Alexa provides skill builders with a monetization opportunity that they didn’t have before.” 

Increasing revenue through Amazon Associates

Mullenax says that developers who participated in the beta launch of the program saw a lift in revenue, driven by commissions earned through Amazon Associates on Alexa. 

For example, Alexa skill developer Sleep Jar, saw a growth in revenue via the Amazon Associates on Alexa program when it incorporated Alexa Shopping Kit into its Sleep Sounds skill. Sleep Sounds lets customer play over 125 ambient sounds to put them in a relaxed mood as they drift to sleep, in addition to enabling them to block out unwanted sounds at home or work. For Sleep Jar, product recommendations are presented visually on Echo Show devices when customers are selecting the sounds they would like to fall asleep to - the offers are presented visually as part of a section called 'Shop Bedroom Essentials,' which is relevant, as most consumers use the skill when drifting off to sleep in the bedroom.

“With Alexa Shopping Actions, we offer customers relevant products within our skill, such as top-rated pillows, bed sheets, and blankets that will help them sleep better,” said Nick Schwab, Sleep Jar’s founder and CEO. “And with Amazon Associates on Alexa, we earn commissions on eligible purchases referred from our skills, thus generating additional revenue to support our company’s growth.”

Getting started with Amazon Associates on Alexa

“Incorporating the Alexa Shopping Kit is easy,” says Mullenax. “It’s a low lift for a skill builder to get started with Amazon Associates on Alexa. The developer documentation clearly explains how to sign up for the program and start monetizing products.”

Developers who wish to earn commissions through Amazon Associates on Alexa must fulfill certain parameters: 

1. The skill must be certified and published in the Alexa Skills store

How to certify and publish your skill

2. You must create an Amazon Associates account. Even if developers have an existing account for websites, mobile apps, or social media, we recommend creating a new one for Alexa to facilitate tracking and management.

How to create an Amazon Associates on Alexa account

3. After you create your Amazon Associates on Alexa account, you will receive a unique Associates ID. 

4. To begin receiving commissions, the Associates ID must be embedded within the skill. Add your Associates ID to the Alexa Shopping actions API to attribute purchases to your account. Include a disclaimer in your product description that you are participating in the Amazon Associates on Alexa program and that you receive a commission from product recommendations.

“Adopting these features was a breeze,” says Schwab. “We simply identified products on Amazon to surface to our customers, signed up for an Amazon Associates account, and added a few lines of code to our Alexa skills.”

How to incorporate the Alexa Shopping Actions

“There are hundreds of millions of Alexa-enabled devices out there with customers around the world – and that number is growing,” Mullenax says. “The launch of Amazon Associates on Alexa is an exciting opportunity to create new revenue streams, diversify your existing revenue streams, and get in early on this up-and-coming way that people are shopping. There is no better time than this holiday season to adopt this feature and capitalize on increased shopping activity on Amazon.”

Get started by reviewing the technical documentation on Alexa Shopping Actions and Amazon Associates on Alexa.

Recommended Reading

5 tips from Amazon tech leader Girish Shekhar on how developers can grow revenue from their skills using Alexa Shopping Actions
The Alexa Shopping Kit allows skill developers to sell products from within their skill and earn commissions
Amazon product leader Sid Dube explains how skill builders can capitalize on the holiday season to grow revenue