How to Make Money with Amazon Alexa Skills

These days, everyone wants an Alexa skill. Voice is an exciting platform that still has a lot of untapped potential—but is it a smart investment for brands or independent developers? One of the biggest questions people have about the platform is how to make money with Amazon Alexa.

And that’s an important concern for a platform that’s still relatively new for most folks. Few want to spend time designing and maintaining a technology when they’re uncertain there will be a return. Thankfully, there are a handful of ways you can monetize Alexa skills; in fact, any app can be monetized in some way. Check out the options below to see how you can start making money with your Alexa skill.

The Obvious Choice for Alexa Skill Monetization: Allowing Purchases

There are two big strategies for Alexa skill monetization: allowing users to make purchases through your voice app or offering premium content. If you’re a retailer or e-commerce business, you’ll definitely want to use the former strategy. Amazon allows developers to integrate Amazon Pay into their voice apps to allow for easy purchasing. These can be physical goods as well as other, less tangible services—things like booking appointments, hailing a ride or more.

Of course, not everyone has or wants to use Amazon Pay. But if you have an existing online store, your users can link their Alexa accounts to their store accounts. This allows them to make purchases using their preferred method of payment that they’ve saved with you—and ensures they can access their purchase history by logging into your site or app. Account linking is fairly simple; check out Amazon’s instructions for how to do it here.

Before you fantasize about jumping into piles of gold like Scrooge McDuck, though, make sure the way you offer products makes sense for the platform. When it comes to Alexa skill payment, it’s important not to drown your users in options. Because there’s no screen, users can’t effectively compare or vet several results. It’s important, then, that you build trust and leverage personalization to only show a small handful of products that users are most likely to buy.

Monetize Alexa Skills Just Like an App Would

Voice platforms are basically the new app stores. Likewise, how to make money with Amazon Alexa is a lot like how you would monetize an app: by offering premium content, either through one-time purchases or through subscriptions. While the tip above about selling physical products is most useful to retailers, this option to monetize Alexa skills can work for almost any app.

For example, if your skill is a game, you can offer just the core experience (or a trial campaign) for free. From there, you can encourage players to purchase individual expansions or subscribe to new chapters as they roll out. Lifestyle apps can also function as Alexa paid skills. A meditation app might offer a simple, any-use guided meditation, then offer more specific varieties behind a paywall. Media brands can take advantage of Alexa skill monetization by offering premium news stories or podcasts to subscribers.

It’s important that your skill still provide a complete, core experience to users for free. This is important because users won’t be driven to make an Alexa skill payment if they can’t try out your service in the first place.

Monetize Alexa Skills with Alexa Developer Rewards

Making money through the Alexa Developer Rewards program is the most difficult way to monetize Alexa skills, but it’s a good goal to strive for. The Alexa Developer Rewards Program rewards the highest-performing skills each month. Ranking is determined by several factors related to user engagement—things like session rate, retention and more.

Because the program rewards performance per month, you won’t always be entitled to compensation. Your voice app must consistently win high engagement from users to remain monetized under the program. This is where conversational analytics is key: you’ll want to keep an eye on customer engagement metrics such as bottleneck points, fluctuating engagement or retention rates, success rates and more. Botanalytics, a conversational analytics tool for bots, highlights that prompting users to leave chatbot feedback in their own words when things go awry is essential for maintaining a consistently positive user experience, which increases the likelihood that your skill will be among the top-performing apps in the program.

A positive user experience is important for any choice on how to make money with Amazon Alexa. No one will want to invest money in an app or skill that’s fraught with bugs or gives them a bad experience. Ensure your Alexa skill offers a good, useful service and the users (and money) will follow.

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