Our top seven from Alexa Live 2021

A rundown of the top announcements from Alexa Live 2021

John Campbell

Managing Director & Co founder

Yesterday, Alexa Live 2021 took place, the annual conference from the Amazon team behind all things Alexa. Each year, the conference announces new features that we as voice experience experts can use. In total there were over 50 announcements, but for us, these top seven are the ones you need to know about.

1. Send to phone

Alexa has been slightly lagging behind the Google Assistant when it comes to integration from a session on a speaker to moving the user to a phone. With Send to phone, you can send customers from your skill, on any Alexa-enabled device, to an app or website on a customer’s phone. There are plenty of use cases, from finding out more information, to a tailored landing page loaded with information following your conversation with Alexa.

2. Paid skills

We’ve had ISP (In Skill Purchases) for a while, but Paid skills are slightly different as the user makes a purchase before using the skill.

3. Alexa Shopping Actions

Alexa Shopping Actions has been known for some while, but it now goes into a wider preview. Here you can have a conversation with a custom Alexa Skill and then make a purchase from Amazon. The idea and use case here is a brand’s custom skill can help customers purchase a product the brand is selling on Amazon.

4. Amazon Associates on Alexa (preview)

Very similar to above but rather than selecting and purchasing a product you / your brand is selling yourself, it could be any product on Amazon, the skill developer then earns a commission from the sale of that product. This could be useful for developers building skills for themselves, not for a brand that has products to sell

5. Voice Forward Account Linking + Voice Forward Consent

A couple of elements here are interesting but the main point is Voice Forward Consent. Customers can grant permission to share information such as name, phone number and email address using their voice. Currently, the user can do this by setting permissions at a skill settings level. Its still not 100% clear if this still be required.

6. Featured skill cards on Echo Show

This new feature allows brands and developers to have a card displayed on the user home screen promoting and reminding the user about a particular skill.

7. Skill A/B Testing

It’s not been entirely possible to conduct A/B testing with Alexa Skill before. Attempts so far have worked but it’s now great to see a solution that has been built by the Amazon team. This could be great for testing different types of conversation design and wording to your skills to increase usage.


That’s our top seven. You can read the rest of the new features over at https://developer.amazon.com/en-US/alexa/alexa-live/release-roundup.


If you are interested in any of these new updates and want to learn a little more, get in contact with us for a chat.

John Campbell

Managing Director & Co founder

John founded Rabbit & Pork as the third agency and Voice Experience arm of TIPi Group. John has developed and launched several Google Actions and Skills, presented at several voice events around the UK, spoken on the VUX podcast and authored multiple whitepapers.
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