Design the Purchase and Cancel Flows

When you offer your skill as a paid skill, you design the purchase suggestion and the handoff to Alexa to complete the purchase. After the purchase flow completes, you design the flow back to your skill. You also design flows for cancellation and refund. Paid skills can use the one-time purchase or subscription payment model.

Best practices for engaging customers

When you create skills that are highly engaging, user-centric, and built on a foundation of trust, you build a loyal customer base for your skills. When you offer paid skills, your skill should provide value to the customer beyond free skills. For best practices to follow when you design voice-first interactions, see the Alexa Design Guide.

Design the purchase suggestion

The purchase suggestion is a way to show the benefit of your skill to customers. The purchase suggestion includes the following parts:

  1. An optional transition from any free content your skill provides.
  2. A brief description of your skill and its availability to customers.

  3. An explicit confirmation (Yes/No) to confirm interest in the offer, such as, "Want to learn more?"

The following example shows the purchase suggestion for a paid skill with a one-time purchase payment.

User: Alexa, open Quick Trivia.
Quick Trivia: Welcome to Quick Trivia! This fun-filled game offers 10 trivia categories. You can choose between easy, medium, and hard questions. Want to learn more?
User: Yes
Alexa: Quick Trivia is a challenging trivia game for all levels. It costs one dollar and ninety-nine cents plus tax. Would you like to buy it?
The purchase flow continues….

The example fits the purchase suggestion definition as follows:

  1. Skill description: Welcome to Quick Trivia! This fun-filled game offers 10 trivia categories. You can choose between easy, medium, and hard questions.
  2. Explicit confirmation: Want to learn more?
  3. Configured product offer description: Quick Trivia is a challenging trivia game for all levels.
  4. Price details: It costs one dollar and ninety-nine cents plus tax.

Handle a direct purchase

If a customer asks Alexa to buy the skill directly, you can send them to the purchase flow without asking for an explicit confirmation. The following example shows the direct handoff to Alexa for a paid skill with a one-time payment.

User: Alexa, buy Quick Trivia.
Alexa: Quick Trivia is a challenging trivia game for all levels. It costs one dollar and ninety-nine cents plus tax. Would you like to buy it?
The purchase flow continues….

Offer a subscription

The purchase flow specifically calls out that your paid skill requires a subscription so that customers understand there's a recurring charge. Give them information in the description that tells them what they get with the subscription. Don't include any purchase details.

The following example shows the purchase suggestion and handoff to Alexa for a paid skill subscription.

User: Alexa, open Quick Trivia.
Quick Trivia: Welcome to Quick Trivia! This fun-filled game offers 10 trivia categories. You can choose between easy, medium, and hard questions. There are new questions every month. Want to learn more?
User: Yes
Alexa: Quick Trivia is ninety-nine cents a month plus tax. You'll automatically be charged every month. Cancel anytime. You can check the Alexa app for terms. Should I sign you up?
The purchase flow continues….

Offer a trial

Trials are a great way for users to get a sense of the skill content before they purchase it. Don't mention the duration of your trial in your purchase suggestion. Alexa gives the details of the trial in the purchase flow. For details about trial configuration, see billing configuration.

The following example shows the purchase suggestion and handoff to Alexa for a paid skill subscription with a free trial.

User: Alexa, open Quick Trivia.
Quick Trivia: Welcome to Quick Trivia! This fun-filled game offers 10 trivia categories. You can choose between easy, medium, and hard questions. Try it for free! Want to learn more?
User: Yes
Alexa: Quick Trivia is free for 2 weeks. Then you'll be automatically charged ninety-nine cents a month plus tax. You'll automatically be charged every month. Cancel anytime. You can check the Alexa app for terms. Should I start your free trial?
The purchase flow continues….

This example shows the handoff to Alexa when the trial ends.

User: Alexa, open Quick Trivia.
Alexa: Your seven-day free trial has ended. If you'd like to continue using Quick Trivia, it's ninety-nine cents plus tax. Would you like to buy it?
The purchase flow continues….

Design the post-purchase flow

When your customer buys the skill or accepts a free trial, you create a graceful handoff from the Amazon purchase flow back to your skill.

The following example shows a successful one-time purchase flow and handoff back to the skill.

User: Alexa, buy Quick Trivia.
Alexa: Quick Trivia is 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.

Purchase declined

When your customer declines the purchase, Alexa returns DECLINED to the skill session. In this example, the skill ends the skill session.

The following example shows a purchase flow in which the customer declines the purchase offer.

User: Alexa, buy Quick Trivia.
Alexa: Quick Trivia is one dollar and ninety-nine cents plus tax. Would you like to buy it?
User: No
Alexa: No problem. You can ask me to buy Quick Trivia anytime.
Quick Trivia ends the skill session.

Make it easy to cancel

Refunds and cancellations always err on the side of the customer. Never use a request to cancel as an opportunity to remind the customer of the benefits of the skill. Like purchases, your skill invokes the Amazon cancel flow for refunds and cancellations.

Don't change standard intents, like Amazon.CancelIntent, AMAZON.StopIntent, to trigger a refund, cancellation, or unsubscribe intent. These intents end your skill session instead of ending the purchase flow. You must invoke the Amazon purchase flow to handle cancellations.

The following example shows a cancellation flow in which the customer cancels their monthly subscription.

User: Alexa, cancel my Quick Trivia subscription.
Quick Trivia invokes the cancel flow.
Alexa: OK. Are you sure you want to cancel?
User: Yes
Alexa: OK. I've canceled Quick Trivia, and you'll no longer be charged. You can continue to use it until the end of this subscription period.
The user can access Quick Trivia until the end of the month.
Quick Trivia: Ready for the next category? ….

The following example shows a cancellation flow in which the customer asks for a refund for the paid skill.

User: Alexa, refund Quick Trivia.
Quick Trivia invokes the cancel flow.
Alexa: For a refund, check out the link that I sent to your Alexa app.
Quick Trivia: Sorry to see you go.
Quick Trivia ends the skill session.

Optimize your results

If you find that the number of purchases are low, try to change some key items to improve your earnings.

  • Change the list price of your skill or modify the trial period.
  • Update your Purchase Offer Description and purchase suggestion description.
  • Re-evaluate your skill content. Do you need more content to make it truly a premium experience? If your skill is older, it might be time to refresh the content.

To determine if your improvements are working, track the Conversion Rate metrics on the Analytics page of the Alexa developer console.