5 tips to evaluate your In-skill Purchasing (ISP) experience

Staff Writer Apr 04, 2023
Alexa Skills

Did you know about the diagnostic tools already included within the Alexa Developer Console that can be used to optimize the purchase experience for your skill? The monetization section with the Analytics Tab in your Skill, focused solely on monetization metrics can help you understand how your customers are reacting to your purchasable content.

“Monetization, unfortunately isn’t a set and forget tool, and requires monthly if not daily tweaking in the initial stages to get right and the metrics provide direction to those tweaks” says Sid Dube, principal product manager at Alexa. “We encourage at least a weekly check-in to ensure that every service including purchasing is in tip-top shape.”

Below, we share five tips for you to baseline your existing monetized skills in order to refine and improve your Alexa ISP experience.

Best practices in baselining your Alexa Monetized skills

Tip #1: Obtain real world feedback on your purchase funnel

This one is simple. Grab a paper and sketch out your purchase funnel. You can break your funnel down into many nuanced stages, but at a high level there are four primary ones - Discovery, Upsell, Conversion, and Retention. Then get a family member or a person unfamiliar with your skill to interact with the skill, and note down the challenges they face as they navigate through each stage of the purchase funnel. Can they easily find the skill? Do they understand what is being offered? Have they used the skill sufficient number of times before being hit with their first upsell? Do they clearly understand the difference between the free content and the paid content through your upsell message? Would they buy it if they didn’t know you? These five questions can help with the initial diagnosis, which is an important first step. 

Tip #2: Understand your skill engagement metrics before even looking at your purchase funnel 

Purchases in your skill can happen only if customers are engaged with your skill. If your customers are not spending enough time in the skill, or there are too many failed sessions, those need to be resolved even before working on upsell messaging. During the discovery stage, customers are spending time engaging with your skill, especially when they’re still figuring out what your skill does. At this stage, your skill is free for them to use. The lack of a cost barrier makes it essential for you to spend that time effectively ensuring that the customer sees value in your skill. 

To design the most optimal experience for your customers, start with the customers, sessions, and utterance metrics which offer you a view into the engagement of your free skill and use this to determine the total audience you can sell to. Only once you have sufficient traffic does it make sense to dedicate efforts to optimize your purchase experience. For this example, let’s say you have received 360,000 unique customers over the last 7 days. That now tells you what your top of the funnel looks like each month i.e., ~1.4 million unique users (~360K X 4 Weeks) and the maximum revenue you can make per month is ~1.4M times your ISP Subscription Price. 


Tip #3: Constantly review your conversion metrics to discover opportunities to improve your upsells

We’ve worked on the Discovery piece to increase the number of users engaging with your skill. However, every time you try and convince them to purchase your product, do they understand what the skill is offering extra? 

“An upsell lasts less than a minute, and you have that window to convince the customer, its worth making the purchase. If you play it more than four to five times without a "yes," you’re going to start turning away customers, telling you something needs to change in the upsell,” says Dube.

Try not to upsell to your customer more than once a day. If you hear several “no” responses, consider re-evaluating your upsell message. The offer conversion rate gives you insights into whether your price and free trial days resonate with customers and encourages them to purchase. An average offer conversion rate for well-designed skills ranges from seven to ten percent. Play around with the price and free trial days and settle on an optimal option. Review our helpful tips for help iterating your purchase experience.


Tip #4: Use churn metrics to keep your converted 'purchasing' customers happy

“Building a sustainable business is all about the long game which requires updates. Unless your product is engaging, customers are not going to keep coming back to your skill. What’s more, they won’t be happy with their purchase if they exhaust your content within their first day or week before starting to hear the same responses” says Dube. 

That’s where the trial-to-conversion rate and churn metrics come in. Trial to conversion gives you an inkling of whether customers are happy with their purchase, and are able to understand the paywalled content within the trial period. It usually ranges from 70% to 90%. Churn tells you the percentage of customers whose subscriptions have either expired or have been cancelled. 

A majority of cancellations are customer initiated with the most common reasons being “Lack of new content” or “Not worth the price I’m being charged regularly”. Typically, successful skill builders see churn rates hover between 5% to 15%. If you’re seeing abnormally high churn rates, see how you can make your content valuable so that your customers continue to see value in paying for it. You can look at your skill reviews to help get ideas on areas to improve your skill.


Tip #5: Use ratings and reviews to further improve your purchase flow

User research indicates that customers view skills for the first time in a way that’s similar to how they view physical products on Amazon.com, in that when trying to make a purchase decision, they look at the ratings and the reviews. Reviews also give clear instructions on fixing the skill. Typical negative reviews around purchasing center around excessive upselling, limited voice intents, inability to understand the customer, not enough information before making a purchase, and prices that do not justify the content. 

“Write down all the keywords from the negative reviews on a board under each stage of the funnel, and pick each one up one at a time. Try to fix it and track its corresponding metric and keyword over the next few weeks until you improve it,” says Dube.

Optimize the ISP experience in your skill by visiting your skill’s analytics section on the Developer Console.

Recommended Reading

Earn money with an Alexa skill
Grow your business on Alexa
Amazon product leader Sid Dube explains how skill builders can capitalize on the holiday season to grow revenue