Table of Premium Content (Premium Entitlement)
The Main Menu of the Skill
Choose between 3 difficulties to have the most effective Workout for your body strength.
Gather Trophies to earn more Fitness Points and unlock even more exercises!
The Fitnesscoach features 45 home exercises with more coming in the future!
Let the Fitnesscoach explain any unlocked exercise, even when currently not in a Workout.
Whenever the Customer tries to access a Premium feature, a conversion is initiated.
I am Lasse, 18 years old and live near Frankfurt in Germany. For this Alexa Skills Challenge, I have created an entire new Skill for the German Skills Store over the past couple of months that really challenged me.
When I first heard about the challenge, I knew that I wanted to create something that people could benefit from in their daily lives. It should make them want to come back every single day and have fun. I know that excellent customer retention is essential, especially when selling digital goods. I wanted to deliver the best customer experience I possibly could to gain the customer's trust. With that set, I went on searching for good ideas that are suitable for In-Skill-Products. So I started looking for things I use every single day. And my SmartWatch is pretty much on top of that list. I mainly use it for tracking my health and fitness, so from that point on, I knew that I wanted to create a Fitness Skill. Looking at the AppStore, there are tons of fitness apps, and many people are using them. The most popular ones are 7-Minute-Workout apps and that for obvious reasons. They are easy to use, and many people care about their health and fitness. However, most of them lack some essential things. They either need you to have a subscription before you can even start using them or don't feature the right exercises for you. I wanted to change all that. I am also not the first to think of a 7-Minute-Workout Skill for Alexa. There are some Skills published to the German Skill Store already, but they feature minimal exercises and offer a glimpse of what the Fitnesscoach can do.
What it does
So how can you benefit from using the Fitnesscoach? It features around 50 home exercises with more coming in future updates, a complex level system to unlock new exercises, achievements and daily challenges you have to complete. When creating your account, you can choose between 3 different difficulties to have perfect exercises for your needs. A workout consists of 10 exercises which you each have to do for 30 Seconds. I understand it's tough to know every single exercise the Fitnesscoach offers. So whenever there is a new exercise queued, it automatically gets explained one time. However, the user can ask the Skill at any point during the workout to have the current exercise explained in full detail. In the beginning, there are very few exercises unlocked to prevent overwhelming the customer. When levelling up, new exercises get unlocked. For that, you need Fitness Points, which you can get by doing workouts or gathering achievements. Thanks to Alexa's Audio Player, which I decided to use for the workouts, exercises are transitioning without interrupting the customer during the workouts. In case the customer uses a display-device to open the Skill, custom, and touch-sensitive APL is implemented to give the customer a better understanding of what they can do. That comes in handy, especially during the Workouts when they can take a quick look at the Album Art, with individual images for each exercise, to know what they are supposed to do next.
How I built it
Premium In-Skill Content
It was important to me from the start that the user does not feel compelled to buy Premium. The Skill is also very usable without Premium. However, purchasing Premium makes the whole Fitnesscoach experience complete.
With purchasing it, you get
- access to up to 6 user profiles
- unlimited workouts (without Premium you are limited to one Workout per day)
- 15 additional Premium Exercises (earn more Fitness Points)
- a Silent Mode that disables background music during Workouts
That makes the Premium Entitlement the perfect choice for both families and individuals that care about their health and fitness and that want to get more out of the Skill. The purchase flow is nice and smooth. Conversions take place whenever the customer requests a premium feature or the Fitnesscoach decides to prompt it to the customer. For instance, when the customer tries to access a new Workout when he has already done one that day, a Conversion takes place. In that case, the Skill goes into detail on how the customer can benefit from the requested feature and additionally explaining all the other features Premium offers. When the customer purchases Premium, the Skill automatically continues with what was previously requested to offer the best purchase flow possible. Whenever the customer declines a purchase, there is a cooldown of 5 days before the next conversion prompt can appear. That excludes a scenario when the customer requests a Premium feature by themselves. Otherwise, a conversion prompt can take place whenever the customer has achieved something new. In this way, the fitness coach uses the positive experience the customer has gained with the Skill to have more effective sells. There is also a limit of 3 purchase prompts before the Skills accepts the customer not being interested in purchasing the Premium Entitlement. Meaning, at that point, they have to use the WhatCanIBuyIntent or request a Premium feature to buy Premium.
Challenges I ran into
Getting the AudioPlayer to work in the way that I desired took some time. It is certainly not meant to be used in the way that I did. Since I had to call the DynamoDB entry of the user during the workouts, I could not use the AttributesManager because there is no active Session when an AudioPlayer request is sent to the Skill. To solve the issue, I stored the userId in the token to access it and wrote my own DynamoDB Adapter that reads from and writes to the database. Also exporting the audio tracks put me under a challenge but I got it to work eventually. But I think the biggest challenge was putting it all together in such a short time.
Accomplishments that I am proud of
Normally, I would work for much longer on something huge like this, but I am happy with what I have come with and how it all turned out. I also build a Skill in a way that I have never done before. I have learned so much during the process of creating it and most of all: things I would do differently next time. Keeping everything organized when working on a scale like this harder than I thought it was going to be.
What's next for Fitnesscoach
I already have so much planned for future updates. This is just the very beginning of what I imagine for the future. For now, I want to add more exercises and work on both the Website and the APL Design, especially with the new animations. This is more to learn how the concept of 7-Minute Workouts can work on Alexa. I plan to convert from an Entitlement to a monthly Subscription. For that, I want to add much more content to the Skill: yoga exercises, weight training and more. I would also love to work together with professional fitness companies. I can see that there is interest already, looking at the fact that Gymondo has published an Alexa Skill, although it is mostly meant for promotional purposes and does not have a greater use to it. I also thought of creating an app or a web application that the Customer can use to customize their workouts and much more. Reaching that goal is one of the most important reasons I decided to participate in the challenge. Looking at all the great ideas the community has and getting inspired. Being part of the finalists would bring me much closer to that dream. I would use the money to get a professional audio recording by a real human voice. I am sure, that would add much to the personal trainer experience. I would also like to donate money to NoCopyrightSounds as I used their music, and I want the artists to get paid for their fantastic work. Although winning the money would help me so much as I cannot afford any of that, what I really look for are the things money cannot buy. Getting the chance to go to Seattle, meeting all the other creators and speak to people that have much more experience in building Skills and selling In-Skill-Content than I have, I cannot put in words how much that would mean to me. It already helped me so much when I got invited to the private ISP beta to Munich back in February. I met so many awesome people and learned so much since then.
Congratulations, you are almost done! I hope you liked what I have come up with. I worked so hard on it and put so much love and effort in creating the Skill. I would also like to thank my friend Maxim who always was the first person I spoke to whenever I got stuck on a problem. Without him, the Skill would not be what it is today. Since he is still 17, sadly he is not officially part of the team, but we will be working on the Skill together in the future. Thank you so much for doing this competition. It helped me a lot and winning this would help me more than you can imagine. I believe my idea indeed can have a considerable impact and surely offers a new way in which Alexa can be used.