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Google now lets apps display sale prices in the Play Store

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Google Play Store app sales Google

Google is now providing a formal way for developers to offer a sale on their apps, letting potential buyers know exactly how much of a discount they’re getting and how long the sale is going to run for.

It’s taken a weirdly long time for Google to add this feature for developers. Other content in the Play Store, like TV shows, have already been able to indicate sale prices. But developers have had to manually change the price of their app if they wanted to offer a discount.

That was a frustrating approach since it didn’t signal to visitors that a discount was being offered, and repeat viewers may have been left wondering why an app’s price kept changing.

Now, apps that are on sale will show a crossed-out “list price” above a purchase button that features the sale price. A banner will appear beneath the button stating when the sale will end.

Google has put a number of restrictions on how developers can offer sales, seemingly to prevent apps from permanently being offered at a discount to trick potential buyers. Sales must discount the app by at least 30 percent, last at least one full day, and last no longer than eight days. Developers will also have to wait 30 days after the end of one sale before starting a new one.

Finally, sales only affect the app’s purchase price — they aren’t able to be offered on subscriptions or in-app purchases.

This is a small update overall, but it really ought to be handy for both developers and consumers. Developers get a new way to promote their apps, and consumers get clarity and lower pricing.

If we’re lucky, maybe Apple will bring this feature to the iTunes Store one of these years.