Windows Store

Enhanced commerce support for in-app purchases, new tools for managing your app's offers, and a number of enhancements to the Windows Store user experience make it easier to onboard, sell, and maintain your app.

New or updated in Windows 8.1

Windows Store Dashboard and onboarding changes

The Windows Store onboarding process now supports the following app submission workflows:

  • Adding an app targeted for Windows 8.1 when you have already published the same app targeted for Windows 8.

  • Adding an app targeted for Windows 8 when you have already published the same app targeted for Windows 8.1.

  • Simultaneously submitting both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 packages for the same app.

  • Submitting updates for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 packages, either one at a time or simultaneously.

After you've published packages for both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, you have the option to end support for Windows 8 if you choose. This does not remove the app for Windows 8 customers who already have it, but it will mean that new customers can only acquire your app if they are running Windows 8.1. For more info, see Removing apps.

Having these different workflows lets you make the right decisions about the continued support for your Windows 8 apps and their potential migration to Windows 8.1. See Adding Windows 8.1 packages for an existing app and for more info.

Note  Please read more about how app bundles and resource packs are changing the way apps are packaged for submission, and what this means for your users.

Consumable in-app purchases using Store commerce

[Get the Trial app and in-app purchase sample now.]

Windows 8.1 introduces new methods to the CurrentApp and CurrentAppSimulator classes in the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace. These new methods make it possible to offer consumable in-app purchases—items that can be purchased, used, and purchased again if you want—through the Windows Store commerce platform instead of other commerce solutions. This lets you:

  • Expand the types of offers in your app.

  • Enable transactions throughout the broad geographical reach of the Windows Store.

  • Keep the commerce experience consistent for users.

Here's how the transaction workflow goes for consumable in-app purchases:

  1. When a user decides to make an in-app purchase, the app calls RequestProductPurchaseAsync to initiate the transaction with the Windows Store.

  2. When the transaction is processed, a PurchaseResults object is returned to the app. This object contains the purchase result, the transaction ID, and the full receipt.

  3. If the returned PurchaseResults indicates that the purchase was successful, the app then fulfills access to the purchased assets locally.

  4. For a consumable in-app purchase, the app reports asset-fulfillment status to the Windows Store by passing the specific transactionId to the ReportConsumableFulfillmentAsync method.

It's your app's responsibility to fulfill purchased app assets. Until the Windows Store receives confirmation that a consumable purchase has been fulfilled, additional transaction requests made by your app for the same customer will not succeed. Instead, PurchaseResults will return status of ProductAwaitingFulfillment.

Note  Your app can use the GetUnfulfilledConsumablesAsync method to check for any unfulfilled consumable in-app purchases. This method is useful for checking for transactions that may not have been fulfilled due to interruptions in connectivity or other issues, so that you can make sure your customers aren't blocked from making additional purchases.

For more info, see Enable in-app purchase of consumables.

Support for large in-app purchase catalogs

[Get the Trial app and in-app purchase sample now.]

Windows 8.1 introduces a new solution for apps that offer in-app purchase catalogs that extend beyond the previous limitation of 200 product entries.

A new overload of the RequestProductPurchaseAsync method provides for a ProductPurchaseDisplayProperties object that contains descriptive metadata for the specific offer within your in-app purchase catalog. This metadata overrides the metadata for the in-app purchase description on the Windows Store, and is then displayed to customers through the transaction UI and purchase receipt.

This solution allows you to create a handful of product entries for specific price tiers, with each one able to represent hundreds of offers within your in-app purchase catalog.

For more info, see How to manage a large catalog of in-app offers.

Automatic app updates

You want to make sure that your customers get any critical bug fixes or new and crucial features for our app, but you don’t always have the time to spend on extra scenarios for the customers who neglect to install updates. You want to feel confident that a large majority of your user base will have the latest version and best experience for their app.

To address this concern, the app update process is automated for users running Windows 8.1. Apps are updated efficiently and without user assistance. While this feature is on by default, users can turn it off at any time.

Proxy authentication for enterprise scenarios

Windows 8.1 introduces updates to the Windows Store and Windows Update client features that support authentication over network proxy configurations like Web Proxy Auto-Discovery (WPAD) and Privilege Attribute Certificate (PAC). The expanded support for these configurations allows for easy app acquisition and silent app updates for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scenarios in an enterprise environment. Enterprise employees can use personal tablet devices at work and home while maintaining current security policies and without impacting IT resources with configuration requests for personal device.

When an employee connects a personal device running Windows 8.1 to an enterprise environment configured with authenticated proxy, Windows will prompt for user authentication to connect to the network. Similarly, some other components like Windows Internet Explorer can prompt the user for these proxy credentials. If the user chooses to save these credentials, they are stored in Credential Manager under the user's context.

Note  The network admin can establish a group policy that configures a user proxy as a PAC or static proxy.

Redeemable credit for Windows Store purchases

With Windows 8.1, the Windows Store makes the purchase of your paid apps and in-app purchases accessible to even more customers. Windows Store customers running Windows 8.1 can:

  • Purchase stored value as a redeemable code from e-commerce sites.

  • Purchase stored value as a card with a redeemable code from brick and mortar stores.

  • Store redeemed credit with a Microsoft account for later use.

When a customer redeems a code, the specified amount is added to the stored value associated with that customer's Microsoft account. The customer can then use the credit to pay for Windows Store purchases. The credit can also be used on other Microsoft platforms, such as Windows Phone, that are accessed with the same Microsoft account

When a user decides to purchase a Windows Store app, any stored account value will be the default payment method. If there are insufficient funds to complete the transaction, the Windows Store prompts the user to cover the remainder by using an alternative payment method.

Note  A stored value is redeemed into a billing account specific to its country and currency. The redeemed value can be used only on apps (and in-app purchases) available in that market.

Store search results powered by Bing analytics

Starting with Windows 8.1, Windows Store search and other methods of app discovery leverage Bing’s advanced recommendation and relevance system. This valuable enhancement to Windows Store search means:

  • Your apps are discoverable when they are searched for by name, feature, or content, making them more easily found by customers who are likely to be interested.

  • Customers can easily discover best-selling apps on the Windows Store and install them right away. Bing-powered search results consider a customer's expressed interests and purchase history to show the most relevant results.

  • Frequent app customers can easily find new, interesting apps by browsing through the Windows Store.

  • Users who like a specific type of app can easily find more apps from the same publisher, or additional apps with related features or functionality.

New and improved Store pages

In Windows 8.1, the Windows Store gets a new look and feel. New and updated page types improve the way your app is displayed to potential customers. Each page represents a relevant slice of Windows Store content that targets specific app attributes like features and publisher, plus customer preferences based on things like purchase history and submitted app ratings. Each page displays a mix of different tile sizes in an eye-catching layout that provides lots of information at a glance.

Note  The first image you submit with your app's screen shots is now used in many of these layouts. Your app's wide tile is also now used in some Store pages. Make sure to design these images appropriately with these presentations in mind. See Choosing your app images for more info.

spotlight page

The Windows Store home page has a brand new design, with a greater number of apps visible as soon as the Store is launched. Apps shown on the homepage can appear on the Spotlight or in lists like Picks for you, Trending, New & Rising, Top Paid, and Top Free, and the mix of apps is updated frequently.

product description page

The updated product description page offers a new layout that displays information that is relevant during a purchase, after a purchase, and as an entry point for users to discover related apps, including other apps offered by the same publisher.

related apps page

The new Related apps page lets customers explore other apps that offer content or functionality related to a specific app in the Windows Store. In some cases, the Windows Store uses a Related apps page as a Publisher page to display a complete list of all the apps that a specific publisher has available in the Windows Store.



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