May 15, 2018Jeff Blankenburg
Now with the availability of in-skill purchasing, we’re excited to see what kinds of premium experiences you will offer customers. With in-skill purchasing, you can offer one-time purchases for entitlements, which gives customers access to features or content in your skill for the life of the skill. You can also sell subscriptions that offer access to premium features or content for a period of time.
To help you get started as you design your in-skill purchasing experience, we’ve created a new sample skill that includes in-skill products. The sample demonstrates how to use the new in-skill purchasing features by offering different both one-time purchases and subscriptions.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the sample skill, or you can find the code samples on the Alexa repository on GitHub to start building.
The sample skill we’ll use to demonstrate in-skill purchasing is a simple fact skill. The customer can ask for a fact and then receive a random fact from a collection of categorized facts. Each fact is assigned a category (science, space, or history). The skill serves up in-skill purchasing options when a customer asks for a fact in a specific category. Customers can always ask for a random fact, but if they want one from a specific category, they have to buy that category fact pack first.
For example, after invoking the skill, if a customer says, “Alexa, give me a history fact,” the skill will respond by letting the customer know they don’t currently own the “history fact pack” and that it is available for purchase. This is called an upsell, which is a mention of a specific product followed by a question asking if they want to learn more about it.
This sample skill also offers a subscription. The customer can pay a monthly fee to access all of the “fact packs” that are available in the skill. The subscription grants access to the same facts that are part of the category fact packs that are sold as one-time purchases.
In addition to showing you how to set up one-time purchases and subscriptions for various fact packs, the sample skill teaches you how to add other important features for in-skill purchasing.
Only offer relevant upsell messages. When it makes sense, make sure that you are only offering your customers an opportunity to take advantage of your in-skill purchases. If they decline your offer, accept their decision and return to your skill experience.
Anticipate direct buy utterances. Customers may already be familiar with the in-skill purchases you offer and ready to buy. Build intents that anticipate proactive customers with intents like, “I want to buy the science pack” so that you direct them to the in-skill purchase they are requesting.
Handle purchase decisions elegantly. After every purchase interaction, your skill receives a response that includes the outcome of that interaction. Your skill should respond to your customer with a meaningful message that contextually matches their decision. For example, when a customer buys a new story in your skill, you should immediately take them to that story experience. If they decline the purchase, you should return them to your skill’s free experience without any additional sales pitch.
Offer a list of available products. Be prepared for customers to ask, “What can I buy?” and let them know about the products that are currently available.
Please note this sample skill is not designed to be modified and published. While there are several valuable lessons you can learn by taking the source code apart, we recommend that you consider your own experience for in-skill purchasing and use this sample as a guide. You can also check out the Alexa Skill-Building Cookbook on GitHub to get more code samples and learn how to add more features to your Alexa skill.
When you create delightful skills with compelling content, customers win. Register for our webinar on May 17 to learn about the different ways you can create premium experiences and make money with your Alexa skills. You can also join us on May 22 for a technical webinar to learn how to create, sell, and manage in-skill products.
When you create delightful skills with compelling content, customers win. You can make money through Alexa skills using in-skill purchasing or Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills. You can also make money for eligible skills that drive some of the highest customer engagement with Alexa Developer Rewards. Learn more about how you can make money with Alexa skills.