Understand In-Skill Purchasing

In-skill purchasing (ISP) lets you sell premium content, such as game features and interactive stories in Alexa custom skills. Customers can ask to shop products, buy products by name, or agree to purchase suggestions that you make during the skill session. Customers pay for products by using the payment options associated with their Amazon account.

If you want to build a custom skill that requires an up-front purchase to access the skill, see Understand Paid Skills.

What's in-skill purchasing?

You can earn money from custom skills by offering customers premium content for purchase. You determine what content you provide for free and what content requires a purchase. During the skill session, you make purchase suggestions for products that enhance the skill experience.

An in-skill product defines the type of purchase and details, such as its name, list price, and prompts that Alexa uses during the purchase flow.

You can offer in-skill products with the following payment models:

  • One-time purchase – An entitlement that unlocks access to features or content within a skill. A one-time purchase doesn't expire. Examples include game expansion packs, unlocked features, extra characters, and more.
  • Consumable – Content or features that a user can purchase, deplete, and purchase again. For example, hints for a game, in-game currency, extra lives, or "day passes" for premium content.
  • Subscription – Offers access to premium content or features for a period of time, charged on a recurring basis until the user cancels the subscription. For example, you might offer monthly access to all content channels in a radio broadcast skill or tiered access to sports and news channels in a podcast service. If you offer a free trial, after the trial period ends, access converts to a paid subscription.

What does the voice purchase flow look like?

A customer can ask Alexa to buy the product directly, or you can make a purchase suggestion to the customer during the skill session. Your skill transfers control to Alexa to complete the purchase. Here, Alexa gives the purchase suggestion (optional), product description, and pricing details and guides the customer through the purchase by using the payment options associated with the customer's Amazon account. After the purchase completes, Alexa transfers control back to your skill with a response that reflects the customer's choice. Your skill doesn't take part in the price offered to the customer or the purchase details.

The following sample utterance shows the transfer from the skill to the Amazon purchase flow and back to the skill after the customer completes the purchase. For details about various purchase flows, see Design the Purchase and Cancel Flows.

User: Alexa, open Quick Trivia.

The skill session continues….
Alexa: You finished all six levels. Great job! If you would like more trivia questions, you can get the expansion pack. Want to learn more?
User: Yes

Alexa: The expansion pack includes five challenging categories and costs one dollar and ninety-nine cents plus tax. Would you like to buy it?
User: Yes

Alexa: Great! I emailed the receipt to you.
Quick Trivia: Bring on the trivia! Choose the category you want to play. You can say a category or select a category on the screen.

Get started with in-skill purchasing

You can add ISP to your custom skill when you create a skill, or later to add premium content. The following steps show the process to create and publish a paid skill. For details, see Steps to Add In-Skill Purchasing to Your Skill.

  1. Create one or more in-skill products in the Alexa developer console or by using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Command Line Interface (CLI).
  2. Update your voice interaction model to include custom intents to support user requests to purchase products, cancel a subscription, and ask for a refund.
  3. Implement the purchase and cancellation flows in your skill.
  4. Test your skill.
  5. Certify and publish your skill.

View skill metrics and earnings

After your skill is live, you can monitor the performance of your skill in the developer console. Use the Analytics page in the developer console to view skill metrics and generate reports. For details about the available metrics, see About Skill Metrics. For details about purchases, see Monetization metrics.

Use the Earnings and Payments tab in the developer console to view sales reporting and analytics that include information about purchases, conversions, retentions, refunds, cancellations, and more. For more details, see View Your Earnings and Payments.

Receive payment

When you publish your skill with in-skill products to the Alexa Skills Store, you get paid for in-skill purchases according to the terms and policies established by the Amazon Developer Services Agreement. For details about receiving payments, see Get Paid for In-Skill Purchases.

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Last updated: Mar 26, 2024