Amazon has announced that all Alexa skill developers may now accept payments for physical goods or digital content via in-skill purchasing for Alexa skills. Select Amazon skills have already been able to make money through these means, but now it’s being made available to the general public. Alexa skills can use Amazon Pay to process payments for physical goods or can offer additional features through one-time or subscription in-skill purchases.
Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills is very straightforward. Skills can use it to accept payments for physical goods or services. One such example is paying for a food order placed through an Alexa skill. Instead of having to link an Alexa skill to an app on your phone or an existing outside account in order to pay for something, you’ll be able to use your existing Amazon account and payment information. TGI Fridays is already using this feature to let customers pay for takeout orders through Alexa. 1-800-Flowers.com is using Amazon Pay for Alexa SKills to let you order flowers.
In-Skill purchasing works a lot like how in-app purchasing works on mobile apps. A skill can offer premium content or enhancements for a fee. Skill developers may offer either one-time purchases or subscriptions. Consumable purchases, like a one-time use item in a game, are not available at this time. Games like Jeopardy! and Heads Up are already using in-skill purchases to offer additional features. SyFy will be offering additional podcasts to paid subscribers through their Alexa skill and the game Yes Sire will offer an expansion pack via a one-time purchase.
All Alexa skills are still free to enable and use. Amazon has notably not made it possible for developers to make pay-only skills yet. While there’s nothing stopping a developer from immediately presenting the user with an in-skill pay wall before using the skill once enabled, Amazon says skills will continue to provide a free experience for customers because they want customers to assess the quality of the skill and understand the product for sale prior to purchasing via voice.