I was browsing WooThemes today to look for a theme for a potential client and I stopped by their WooCommerce pages. There are a lot of extensions and plugins for WooCommerce, almost 7 pages of stuff. Apparently they've been paying people outside of the company to develop them. I was a little astonished at the amount of extension possibility to it.
Now, I prefer MarketPress, it certainly has the lead especially because of that beautiful multisite feature. Aaron has always said that he built MP to be extensible, but to date we are still only seeing a handful of extension plugins for MP come out of the community. The downside of those plugins and extensions to MP is that they are hard to find. Available only through diverse forum threads or old blog posts on wpmu.org.
MP is a flagship product for you guys. Why not do two things to help give it more support.
- Add an extensions/plugins tab to the MarketPress product page and list all the community built extensions there. Have one of your staff developers hit review them for quality control to maintain standards.
- Pay for extensions. Even as a proud card-carrying member of WPMU DEV, if you selling additional extensions that were not part of the plugins package I get with membership, I would still buy them if I needed them. But if membership sales are up, then why not just pay contract developers to build out extension and plugins to add on to MP and add them to your plugins portfolio.
MarketPress is beyond awesome and WooCommerce is a younger product, but for some reason it appears (via marketing) to be more mature and well-supported. Part of that comes from the number of available extensions to it. I know that there are plenty of features that members here have asked for that would never qualify to make it into core and Aaron just doesn't have the time build extensions for it. Some of these include payment gateways, different shipping options, I've asked for buddypress acheivements compatibility. What about conditional product variations (select one option, then select another based on the previous choice)? These are all things that fall into plugin/extension area and as a business, I think it would be in your interest to find ways to get these extensions created, especially if the community isn't making them themselves.
WordPress e-commerce plugins have become a rather crowded space and MP for all its advantages, just doesn't feel as lustrous as some of the others. Browsing themeforest there are dozens of themes supporting the competing plugins and designed around them. WooCommerce has all those extensions (not to mention themes - there hasn't been a new MP theme released in ages).
I hope you'll all take this criticism in the spirit that I mean it, MarketPress is a fantastic product. It has not only given me opportunities on my own multisite network, but because of my experience with it, I get approached by other people wanting me to build the same for their own niche. To that end, I want to see MarketPress continue to grow and maintain its shine in that competitive market that it is now competing in.