In-app purchase has been driving app revenue on mobile devices for some time, partly because it’s so easy to integrate with the back-end billing systems that exist for mobile platforms. It seems like every popular mobile app or game is using free-to-play or freemium to its advantage.
But selling digital items isn’t just limited to tablets and phones. Amazon Instant Access extends this convenience to customers using your application or playing your game on desktop computers or through web browsers. This service improves your ability to monetize these types of apps and is now easier to implement. We just released an update designed to significantly reduce the time and effort required to integrate with your PC, Mac, and web-based applications.
Your Digital Products on Amazon.com
Amazon Instant Access isn’t the same as In-App Purchasing. Instead, it allows you to list and sell your digital virtual goods and entitlements on Amazon.com, just like physical items, so customers will be able to find your digital virtual goods through the same technology that drives discoverability and customer satisfaction for everything else on Amazon.com. Product searches and recommendations work exactly the same way for your digital products as they do for any other item on the Amazon website, as do direct product links.
In addition, Amazon Instant Access links your customer’s Amazon.com account with their account in your application, allowing direct delivery of the digital items they purchase. (If they don’t have an account with your application yet, we will prompt them to create one.) From the user’s perspective, delivery is seamless: they shop on Amazon.com, buy your items, and then see those purchases appear in their account inside your application or game.
How It Works
The Amazon Instant Access service communicates with your application’s back-end server responsible for managing user accounts, inventory, and entitlements. You provide endpoints for account linking and item purchase/revocation that we will call when customers purchase from your digital catalog.
Figure 1: Relationship between Amazon.com, your web service, and your application
For existing accounts, we will supply you with the user id or username entered by the customer, along with up to two additional informational fields that you can configure. Your web service should then respond with an immutable id to be used in subsequent requests associated with this purchase, or indicate the username wasn’t recognized. To create a new account with your application, we will redirect the user to your New Account Creation page and include a return URL in the request. When the account has been created successfully, redirect the user back to the return URL.
Figure 2: Example request/response to link an existing account
When a purchase has been completed on Amazon.com, we will call your web service again, this time passing the product id, a purchase token, and the immutable id you provided to us for this purchase. We will also indicate whether the product is being purchased or revoked (due to a customer request or payment problem). Your service should respond with success or failure. Success signifies that you have positively associated the item purchased with the user’s account in your system, or removed it in the case of revocation.
Figure 3: Example request/response for item purchase
To use Amazon Instant Access, first create a developer account on our developer portal if you haven’t already. From there you can read the online documentation for Amazon Instant Access, enter endpoint information for the web service associated with your application or game, and create items for your digital catalog. You can also learn about testing your integration and deployment when everything is good to go.
This release makes it that much faster to incorporate digital sales into your PC, Mac, or web-based application, so dive in and take advantage of the technology behind one of the most successful retail websites in the world. Let us help you deliver the best customer experience and monetize more effectively.