Editor’s Note: This is an installment of a new series that showcases the top developer tips, tutorials, and educational resources to help you build incredible Alexa skills. Follow the series to learn, get inspired, and start building your own voice experiences for Alexa.
This year we opened up more opportunities for developers to make money with Alexa skills through in-skill purchasing (ISP). Developers can sell premium content as one-time purchases for entitlements that unlock access to features or content, subscriptions that offer access to premium features or content for a period of time, and consumables that customers can purchase, use, and then purchase again.
Developers are already using in-skill purchasing to deepen engagement with customers and build their voice businesses. Check out our top resources and developer stories for making money with in-skill purchasing.
Which Type of In-Skill Product Is Right for Your Skill?
Developers have three ways to deliver premium experiences to customers with in-skill purchasing—consumables, one-time purchases, and subscriptions. 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, check out this blog post for considerations on which in-skill product type aligns with your skill’s experience and can make your voice experience more delightful and engaging.
Understanding the In-Skill Purchasing Experience
A voice-first purchasing experience gives customers new ways to engage with skills, and there are several pathways customers can take throughout the purchase process. In a nutshell, your skill can recommend a product to a customer, which we call an “upsell,” or your customer can ask to purchase a product, which we call a “buy.” As you think about your in-skill purchasing experience, it’s important to consider all of the possible pathways a customer can take to make or decline a purchase in your Alexa skill. Read this blog post for an overview of the in-skill purchasing experience and tips to make the experience seamless for your customers.
8 Best Practices for Designing Premium Experiences for Alexa Skills
When designing your premium experience, it’s important to follow a set of certification tests and customer experience best practices to build your customers’ trust and confidence. This will ensure your customers have a consistent and positive experience when using skills that offer in-skill purchases. In this post blog, we share eight best practices to keep in mind as you design a premium experience for your customers.
How to Build an Alexa Skill with In-Skill Purchasing
You can use the Alexa Skills Kit Command-Line Interface (CLI) to add in-skill products to your voice experience. Check out this technical post and sample skill for adding in-skill purchasing as one-time purchases and subscriptions. To learn about adding consumables, check out this post for five best practices. And in the below video, our head of Alexa education Paul Cutsinger shares how to get started with in-skill purchasing.
How to Test Your In-Skill Product for a Great Customer Experience: 10 Test Cases
No matter which in-skill product you build, it’s important to create a seamless customer experience and test your ISP to reduce friction in the certification process. To help you prepare your ISP for testing and certification, check out the following 10 test cases in this technical blog post.
How Developers Are Growing Their Businesses with Alexa
Now with in-skill purchasing, developers are making money and growing their voice businesses with Alexa. Check out their stories below and get inspired to deliver premium content and enrich your voice experience:
In less than 12 months, Volley’s games proved to be amongst the most engaging, amassing over 500,000 active monthly users. But it was the addition of in-skill purchasing that allowed Volley to scale. It began selling premium content in the form of expansion packs for its popular Yes Sire role-playing adventure game. Volley founder Max Child says the conversion rate of customers purchasing expansion packs is much higher than mobile, and he feels this bodes well for the future of sustainable businesses built with Alexa.
When in-skill purchasing became available, Nick Schwab started selling monthly subscriptions in his skills that unlocked new premium content and features. Schwab says the customer response has been overwhelmingly positive—up to 30% of customers who are offered a free trial subscription sign up, and more than 90% of free trials convert to paid subscriptions.
Gal Shenar has more than 30 Alexa skills, some of which offer in-skill purchasing. Shenar says he’s seeing an upsell conversion rate of 34% on his popular skill Escape the Airplane—“much higher than what you’d expect on mobile."
Steven Arkonovich’s skill, Big Sky, is one of CNET's seven “must-have” Alexa skills with over 60,000 active monthly users. With in-skill purchasing, Arkonovich offers a monthly subscription that unlocks premium features, and customers love it—50% of Big Sky customers opt to purchase the premium experience when offered.
Software veteran Jeff Bolton began selling premium content in the form of annual subscriptions for his popular Sleep and Relaxation Sounds skill. The subscription gives customers exclusive access to certain features and content, and customers are responding positively to the upsell—43% of customers who are offered the subscription have opted in to purchase it. The skill also maintains a 4.8-star rating since Bolton introduced the premium experience. And his voice business is growing faster than he imagined.
More Resource Roundups
- 5 Resources on Getting Started with Alexa Skills
- Resource Roundup: Top Alexa Tips and Tutorials for Building Skills with Visual Components
- Resource Roundup: Top Alexa Tips and Tutorials for Advanced Skill Builders
- Resource Roundup: Top Alexa Tips and Tutorials for Building Kid Skills
Build Skills, Earn Developer Perks
Bring your big idea to life with Alexa and earn perks through our milestone-based developer promotion. US developers, publish your first Alexa skill and earn an Alexa developer t-shirt. Publish a skill for Alexa-enabled devices with screens and earn an Echo Spot. Publish a skill using the Gadgets Skill API and earn a 2-pack of Echo Buttons. If you're not in the US, check out our promotions in Canada, the UK, Germany, Japan, France, Australia, and India. Learn more about our promotion and start building today.
Source: Alexa Developer Blog