In-Skill Purchasing FAQ
The following frequently asked questions (FAQ) answer common questions about In-Skill Purchasing (ISP).
- Q: What kind of in-skill products can I sell?
You can sell digital content or features for use within the Alexa skill experience. Content and features include game products, interactive stories, unlocked features, and more. You can add three types of in-skill purchases to your skill:
- One-time purchase: An entitlement that unlocks access to features or content within a skill. A one-time purchases 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.
- Q: I would like to charge customers to enable my Alexa skill. How can I do that?
Don't charge customers to enable your skill. You can only charge for additional content that further enhances the skill experience. This policy allows customers to enjoy your skill and assess its value before investing. Also, you can offer a paid skill.
- Q: Can I sell a consumable product?
Yes. A consumable is a type of content or feature that customers can purchase, deplete, and purchase again. Examples include an in-game currency or extra lives. Offering consumables in your skill requires you to save and manage the customer's inventory. For details, see Add ISP Support to Your Skill Code.
- Q: How do I keep track of the consumable products a customer has purchased and used?
Your skill must manage the customer's inventory and store it in persistent storage. Alexa keeps track of the total number times the customer purchased a particular product, but this tracking doesn't reflect the customer's use of the product. Your skill must track usage by mapping the inventory to the customer's
userId. You can use any persistent storage mechanism you want to store this data. For details, see Manage the inventory for consumable purchases.
- Q: What happens if the customer disables my skill after purchasing a consumable product?
If the customer disables and later re-enables a skill offering consumable products, the customer retains the same
userId. You can therefore continue to access the customer's inventory in your persistent storage. If you use the
AlexaSkillEvent.SkillDisabledevent to perform any cleanup after a customer disables your skill, be sure to retain the customer's consumable purchase inventory. For details, see Maintain the user inventory if the user disables and re-enables the skill.
- Q: Can I sell "packs" of multiple items, such as a set of five clues?
Yes.Note: Alexa only tracks the total number of purchases the customer has made and doesn't keep track of multipack sets.
If a customer buys three five-hint packs, Alexa reports just three purchases. Your code must manage converting those purchases to the correct number of items.
- Q: How much can I charge for an in-skill purchase?
For minimum and maximum price values, see Price ranges for in-skill products. Your revenue share is calculated based on the list price you set for your products. If you decide to change the list price after you publish your skill, the skill requires recertification.
- Q: With what frequency can I charge recurring payments for my subscription?
You can renew in-skill subscriptions automatically on a monthly or annual basis.
- Q: Can I offer a trial subscription?
If you use the subscription payment model, you can offer a trial. Trials allow customers to preview the product for free for a limited time. When you create your subscription product, you can set a trial subscription period from 0 to 90 days. If you set trial period to zero days, no trial subscription is offered.
- Q: How do I add an in-skill product to my custom skill?
You can create and manage your in-skill products in the developer console. For details, see Create and Manage In-Skill Products. If you prefer to manage your skills with the Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (ASK CLI), make sure you install the latest version. The ASK CLI provides templates for all three product types (entitlements, consumables, and subscriptions) to help you easily create in-skill products. Then, you add the in-skill product to your Alexa skill, and proceed with getting it tested and certified. For details, see Create and Edit In-Skill Products with the ASK CLI.
- Q: Can I add an in-skill purchase to a child-directed skill?
Kid skills in the US can offer two types of in-skill products – subscriptions and one-time purchases. For details, see Build Premium Experiences for Kid Skills in the US.
- Q: Can I create, test, and publish an in-skill purchase directly in the developer console, without using the command-line interface (ASK CLI)?
Yes. For details, see Create and Manage In-Skill Products.
- Q: I am not a coder. Do I have any alternative mechanisms to build skills with ISP?
In addition to using the developer console or the ASK CLI, you can use tools provided by Voiceflow and Voice Apps to build skills with in-skill purchasing. Voiceflow and Voice Apps offer a visual-design-based approach to skill building that makes it easy for everyone to build skills, from people with zero coding experience to advanced developers.
- Q: Can I beta test my skill with in-skill purchases?
Yes. Beta testers aren't charged for in-skill purchases.
For consumable products, keep the customer's beta inventory separate from their live skill inventory. The
purchaseModeproperty returned for an in-skill product indicates whether the purchase was made in a beta test (
TEST) or live skill (
LIVE). For details, see Optionally beta test your skill with in-skill products.
When the skill is live, the customer is charged for in-skill purchases.
- Q: Do certification requirements differ for skills that include in-skill purchases?
Yes. Amazon reviews and certifies monetized skills based on specific requirements designed to make sure paying customers receive a high-quality experience. Any update made by using the developer console or Alexa Skill Management API (SMAPI) to a skill offering in-skill products requires that the skill be re-certified. For details, see Certify In-Skill Purchasing Skills.
- Q: What happens if I add or delete products from a skill?
You must submit your skill for recertification when you add, delete, or update products. You can completely delete a product from a skill in the development stage, as long as the product has never been available in a live version of the skill. For details, see Delete a product. For a product available in a live skill, you can discontinue the product by deactivating it. Existing customers who previously purchased the product still have access, as described in Discontinue a product in a live skill.
- Q: Can I change the list price of a product?
Yes. Amazon provides the lowest price to all customers at any given time. If you reduce the list price of a product, all new customers see the new price of the product. In addition, for subscriptions, all existing customers receive the lower price of the product. If you increase the list price of a product, all existing subscription customers are locked into the lower price, and all new customers see the increased price of the product. If an existing customer cancels their purchase, and then repurchases the item, they see the new price of the product. For details about how to change the price, see Edit a product.
- Q: In which countries or regions can I publish skills that offer in-skill purchases?
In-skill purchasing is available in multiple countries and regions. For details, see Pricing, Languages, and Distribution for In-Skill Products.
- Q: Must I be based in the United States to publish skills that offer in-skill products?
No. Both US and non-US developers can create and publish skills with in-skill products. However, you must publish the skill in a supported Alexa Skills Store. For details, see Countries and regions that support in-skill products.
- Q: What languages do I need to support to publish my product in the Alexa Skills Store?
If you want to publish your product in the Alexa Skills Store, you must support the primary language for the country or region where you want to publish the product. For example, to publish a product on Amazon.com, your product must support en_US.
- Q: How can I monitor the performance of my in-skill purchases?
In the developer console, you can view sales reporting and analytics that include detailed information about offer impressions, conversions, purchases, earnings, refunds, cancellations, and more.Note: Metrics with upsell in the name are only available when you use the upsell directive.
Payment and taxes
- Q: What's my revenue share?
Developers earn a royalty of up to 80 percent of the marketplace list price, plus applicable additional benefits. Any discount offered by Amazon is provided to customers at no cost to the developer, and doesn't impact the developer's revenue share.
- Q: Can I earn revenue and Alexa Developer Rewards for the same skill?
Yes, your Alexa skill can earn revenue from in-skill purchases as well as earn rewards for driving customer engagement, assuming it meets the Alexa Developer Rewards eligibility criteria. For details, see Earn Money with Alexa Developer Rewards.
- Q: How and when do I get paid?
Amazon issues payment to you at the end of the following month in which your skill generates revenue (for example, for revenue generated in April, Amazon issues payment at the end of May). Payments are issued to the bank account provided in the developer console. For details, see View Your Payments and Earnings.
- Q: How are taxes on my earnings handled?
Amazon withholds taxes on your earnings based on the tax withholding requirements of your applicable tax authority. For details, see Complete the tax identity interview.
- Q: How do customers discover skills with in-skill purchases?
Amazon marks skills offering in-skill purchases with "In-Skill Purchases Available" in search results and on the skill description page in the Alexa app and on Amazon.com. Amazon features skills offering in-skill products in the Alexa Skills Store and other channels as appropriate.
- Q: What's the customer's purchase experience?
Customers buy content by saying "yes" to a product offer message, generated when a customer requests the product directly or when the customer responds positively to a proactive suggestion within your skill. Amazon uses the default payment method in their Amazon account to charge for the purchase, and the customer receives an order confirmation email from Amazon. Upon completing the purchase, customers return to the skill to immediately enjoy their premium content. Customers can access their in-skill purchases on all Echo devices and most Alexa-enabled products.
- Q: Can customers purchase in-skill products by using the Alexa app or Amazon.com?
Customers can make in-skill purchases by using voice during the skill session and on the skill description page on Amazon.com.
- Q: How are returns handled?
Digital purchases from Amazon (including mobile apps, video, and music) aren't eligible for refunds. In the case of accidental purchases, customers can contact Amazon Customer Service to request a refund. Amazon deducts refunds from monthly payments made to developers. You can find the refund on the monthly earning reports for your skill.
- Q: How can customers cancel their subscription?
Customers can ask Alexa to cancel a subscription or navigate to the Alexa app to turn off auto-renew for a subscription.