With the recent release of consumables, you now have three ways to deliver premium experiences to customers with in-skill purchasing (ISP). In addition to selling consumables that customers can buy, use, and buy again, you can sell subscriptions and one-time purchases.
With a variety of in-skill products to offer, it’s important to think about which one can help you best enhance your skill through premium content. Before you start adding in-skill products, consider which product type aligns with your skill’s experience and can make your voice experience more delightful and engaging.
To help you out, here I cover the three types of in-skill products and share ideas for using each of them in your own skills.
Consumables are in-skill products that can be depleted and re-purchased. These could be hints that a customer might need during a game, or coins that are your in-game currency. It might also be a product that has a time-related expiration, like access to a Halloween feature that is only available in October.
Generally, you can implement consumables quickly because they require less “new” content than subscriptions or one-time purchases. Consumables can be as simple as a single hint in an already existing experience. If your skill doesn’t require you to create a lot fresh content on a regular basis to deliver a premium experience, then consumables could be a great route for you.
Here are a couple of great examples of consumables in skills you can use today:
Yes Sire is a game where you are making decisions about your kingdom. Your score goes up or down, depending on which decisions you make. The developers use consumables to help customers stay in the game, even when their entire kingdom has turned against them. When your score reaches 0, you can buy a consumable product that gives you back 500 points.
Hypno Therapist offers short hypnotherapy sessions. In addition to a subscription that gives you access to their entire library, customers can also buy a pack of ten credits, which they can use to unlock the sessions that most interest them. Once a customer has used up their credits, they can buy ten more.
Subscriptions are auto-renewing, time-based in-skill products. You can use subscriptions in your skills for things like monthly access to new stories, or access to all of the categories of a trivia game.
Double Jeopardy in the Jeopardy skill is a great example of a subscription. With your subscription, you can get six additional Double Jeopardy answers to quiz yourself with in Jeopardy each weekday. This is on top of the six free Single Jeopardy questions that all customers have access to.
Big Sky provides “better weather for Alexa” and delivers personalized weather information with just the amount of detail the customer asks for. With the subscription, customers get additional personalization features. For example, customers can set up additional addresses, each with its own nickname, such as “Mom’s House” or “The Beach.” The subscription also unlocks customized weather alerts, among other features.
One-time purchases, or entitlements, are products that are purchased once and then are always available. This might be access to a specific interactive story, or a powerful tool in an adventure game. Because these purchases are permanent, they’re a natural fit for specific pieces of content that a customer will return to time and time again.
In Escape the Room, the developer took hints to a different level by offering them as a one-time purchase. Once you’ve unlocked the “game master,” you can get hints at any part of the adventure just by asking for a hint.
The party game Heads Up offers a number of different categories of decks you can use while you play the game. Each deck can be unlocked with a one-time purchase, which makes it easy to continue playing the game after you’ve played through their extensive free experience.
Tips for Building Great Experiences with In-Skill Purchasing
For each skill and in-skill product type, it’s important to remember a few key best practices:
- Design your inskill product with the customer in mind. Customers won’t be able to justify an ISP offering if the free skill experience is not enjoyable or helpful. Remember to continually improve the skill experience as a commitment to your customers that you value their engagement.
- Know your audience. Pick the right format of ISP for the types of customers you have. Ensure you understand user behavior and activity in your base skill using tools like Interactive Path Analysis and Intent History. This data will help you identify key dropoff points or utterances that users are reaching. Evaluating your skill’s reviews is also a great place for inspiration on top asks or preferences in using your skill.
- Make it easy for customers to make a purchase. Offer a combination of product offers and buying opportunities to entice your user to give your great new content a try.
- Be mindful of when you present your ISP to increase conversion and customer satisfaction. If a customer has declined your product after numerous proposals, consider shortening the upsell messaging for that customer, adjusting frequency, or removing it altogether. Reaching users in the right context is key, whether it be after they’ve asked for help, or once they’ve replayed your daily content numerous times.
- Consider giving free access to an in-skill product before charging for it. Give customers a chance to understand the value of your in-skill product before having to make the purchase. Free trials are common for subscriptions, but you can also offer them for one-time purchases and consumables. For example, you can offer customers a free hint early in a skill experience.
Make Money by Creating Engaging Skills Customers Love
You can make money for eligible skills that drive some of the highest customer engagement with Alexa Developer Rewards. You can also make money with Alexa skills using in-skill purchasing or Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills. Download our introductory guide to learn more.