In this post we compare two official Magento app/extension stores: Magento Connect and Magento Marketplace. Having extensive selection of extensions is a critical component for open-source platform. Access to thousands of extensions for almost every business case is one of the greatest advantages of Magento eCommerce – it makes much cheaper and faster for online retailers to build functionality that isn’t available in Magento out of the box.
According Magento Inc., Magento Connect is the largest eCommerce application marketplace in the world. Magento Connect exists from very early days of Magento. It grew in terms of number of the extensions available along with Magento platform and at the moment accounts 9,700 solutions from 3rd party developers.
The extensions at Magento Connect are split to the next categories:
- Themes or sets of front-end templates
- Customer experience
- Site Management
Each category has sub-categories that helps merchants to narrow the search. There is also a text search available that may help you to find extension you need.
From the commercial point of view all the extensions at Magento Connect can be classified as:
- Free. Merchants can install them free of charge, in theory installation of such extension is possible directly from Magento Connetc, while in practice it is better to get professional help to install the extension, because if the things go wrong, your store can become not operational
- Paid. These extensions are available for purchase at the extension providers websites, purchase and download takes place outside of Magento Connect.
- SaaS connectors. I think that while they are not separated in Magento Connect, this class of extensions needs a separate category. They let you to connect your store with 3rd party solution like payment gateway or marketing automation platform. As a rule the extensions are free (while there are some paid), but the service it connects you isn’t
Magento Connect is free to use for both developers and merchants (as long as they don’t buy paid extensions). So even for paid extensions and SaaS Magento doesn’t take commission. Probably it is one of the reason of flourishing ecosystem of Magento extensions.
Critique of Magento Connect
While Magento Connect is a cornerstone of Magento success, it was criticised for too low barriers to entry, leading to low quality extensions flooding the system. Some merchants, especially who lack development expertise had serious problems installing that low quality extensions.
Magento provides minimal quality control of the extensions listed on Magento Connect, more relying on self-regulation – users who install extensions rate (from 1 to 5 stars) and provide feedback to them, hence helping other merchants to make the decision.
Another problem of Magento Connect was hacked popularity score: some not really great extension vendors cheating the system to inflate the popularity score of their product.
To address these issues and apparently to get share of financial flows after getting acquired by private equity firm, Magento Inc. introduced Magento Marketplace in 2016.
Magento Marketplace at the moment lists Magento 2 extensions and just handful of Magento 1 extensions, but it is expected to completely replace Magento Connect in the future.
Key differences of Magento Marketplace from Magento Connect:
- Much more rigorous extension selection process: both from technical and business prospective – Magento Inc. tries to avoid the situation of having too many extensions doing the same job, making it hard for merchants to choose
- Magento Inc. takes commission of 30% from developers selling the extensions on Magento Marketplace
- Merchants dealing with Magento Inc from transactional point of view – they get billed by Magento Marketplace, not individual vendors
As a consequences of the measures above:
- The selection of the extensions on Magento Marketplace is more limited
- The average price level there is higher
Magento Connect or Magento Marketplace ?
Where should you search for extensions as a merchant?
Our advise is the next:
- If you run Magento 1 store – go to Magento Connect.
- If you run Magento 2 store – start from Magento Marketplace. If you fail to find what you need – just google for the extension, there is a big chance that it exists, but still not listed on Magento Marketplace.
And you can always contact us for professional advice or if you need to develop custom extension.