When new technologies appear on the scene, there’s often a high barrier to entry. Once upon a time, it seemingly took a village to build an e-commerce website; today pretty much anyone can do it in a few clicks. In the early days of smartphones, building a full-featured app required a team of developers and at least six months of engineering; now it’s easier than ever. While voice commerce is still in its relative infancy, the barrier to entry is not nearly so high as you might think. In fact, it can be surprisingly easy to add voice commerce to your offering through Alexa skills using in-skill purchasing (ISP) or Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills. 

The Rise of Voice

Every day, customers use voice to seamlessly interact with the technology all around them – to play videogames, turn on the lights, get the latest news, and much more. That ubiquity is due in no small part to the rapid growth in popularity of voice services like Amazon Alexa and voice-enabled devices like Echo.

The fact that Alexa is woven into our customers’ everyday lives presents an opportunity for businesses to reach customers through more than 100 million Alexa-enabled devices. It also means a new sales channel for brands and merchants who want to sell physical goods and services through Alexa skills.

Early adopters of the technology are already seeing results. According to the Alexa Skill builder’s guide, Indie game developer Gal Shenar has created more than 30 Alexa skills, some of which offer in-skill purchasing. In his game “Escape the Airplane”, for example, skills detect if a player is having trouble with a puzzle and offer hint packages for players to purchase. The voice skill has resulted in an upsell conversion rate of 34% on the game, “much higher than what you’d expect on mobile,” he says.

What Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills Can Do for You

So how can you use voice to drive new sales and delight your customers with an entirely new experience? If you sell physical goods or services on Alexa, a customer can now complete the purchase experience within your skill without having to leave the voice experience to enter credit card or shipping address details.

First, register your business with Amazon Pay to use the service within their skill; after that, you simply add Amazon Pay to your Alexa skill. The payment service integrates with your existing CRM and order management solutions, so merchants can manage their sales as part of the current process.

For customers, the experience is simple and convenient. With Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills, customers can pay for physical goods and services in your skill using the information already in their Amazon account — without needing to remember their username and password. Alexa users grant your skill permission to use Amazon Pay as their default payment, which uses their payment details already pre-configured in their Amazon account.

Best practices for designing Alexa Skills

We recently published a webinar to help businesses expand their offering to voice. Because voice is different from web and mobile, businesses often ask for scenarios or already developed skills they can use as a way of becoming an early adopter of voice commerce.

One way Amazon Pay merchants can quickly integrate voice into their e-commerce offering is Alexa’s delivery notifications capability. Merchants can use Alexa to let their customers know when their order has been delivered, when they want, and in a natural, contextual, trusted way. Some of the benefits include an enhanced customer experience with proactive shipment delivery notifications, and less customer support required with fewer customer service inquiries for checking delivery status.

You can now register for the new AWS Certified Alexa Skill Builder – a specialty certification, the industry’s first and only certification that validates your ability to build, test, and publish Alexa Skills. Alexa has also prepared a best practices guide for creating engaging, premium experiences on voice.

Download Amazon’s introductory Alexa Skill builder’s guide and get started today.