This week, Amazon announced the US general availability of in-skill purchasing (ISP) for Alexa skills. Skills in general remain free for customers. But, ISP allows skill developers to sell premium content to enhance Alexa skills. Examples of premium content include virtual game products (e.g. expansion packs, special powers, equipment, custom characters, etc.), add-on content (e.g. interactive stories, subscriptions to premium content, etc.), and unlocked features (e.g. multiple accounts, etc.)
Alongside the ISP general availability announcement, Amazon announced a number of companies already utilizing ISP in their skills. For example, NBCUniversal's SYFY WIRE listeners can subscribe and receive three extra podcasts on Alexa through an ISP. Other early adopters include Sony, the Ellen Show, Fremantle, HISTORY, and more.
To integrate one-time purchases and subscriptions in a skill, developers need to create and manage in-skill products. Developers can access in-skill products through the ASK Command-Line Interface. Before launching, developers need to create a tax profile for payment, and test the skill for certification. Once launched, developers can check inventory, pass purchase requests to Amazon, and monitor sales and payments.
In-skill purchasing is the latest method in which Alexa skill developers can generate revenue. Other money makers within skills include Alexa Developer Rewards and by selling physical goods and services through Alexa skills. Amazon is offering webinars to help developers get started. To jump in now, check out the getting started guide.