If there is one thing I like about Shopify, it is the availability of free themes you can use in your dropshipping and e-commerce store. As of today, there are nine Shopify free themes you can use, all built by Shopify.
Today, we will focus our review on the Debut theme, and we will cover the following:
- What is the Shopify Debut theme?
- Features of the Shopify Debut Theme
- Advantages of Using the Shopify Debut Theme
- My Rating for Shopify Debut Theme
Here is some good news: before the change, you must choose a theme that you would use for life. In Shopify, changing themes means that you have to re-upload your product photos and descriptions, as if you are starting from scratch again.
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In the 2019 Shopify announcement, this is not a problem anymore. You can change your themes and everything on your website would still be there.
Having said that, let us now take a look at the Shopify Debut theme and see if this is something you can use for your store.
What is the Shopify Debut theme?
The Debut theme is a FREE Shopify theme designed by the company itself. No, it is not a free theme from a third-party developer. As such, the theme works perfectly on the platform. With this theme, you can upload product photos, create blog posts, have add to cart buttons, and process payments on your e-commerce store.
The Debut theme has two styles called Default and Light. On both of these styles, your storefront has a large hero banner that has a clickable button. The main difference between the two themes is how the sections are set-up below the hero.
The Default Style Debut Theme
On this theme, the first thing a customer would see below the hero banner is a photo with text. It is best used for products where you want to tell a story. The photo is not clickable.
Below that, you can put another product photo that has a text, also not clickable, but you can add the price and the Add to Cart button. This section feature is best used if you want to highlight a specific product that you want to sell.
Below that, you can add a Testimonials section, and a featured collection, and more hero banners if you want.
The Light Style Debut Theme
For the Light style, the main focus of the store front is to showcase several products right after the hero banner. Below the banner, you can add as much as three product photos in a row, which includes the price, category and product name.
These photos are clickable, and would take the site visitor to the product page if clicked.
After that, you can add another hero banner, but with no clickable button. It is up to you if you want to use videos on this section or just images.
The Light Style also has a default strip on top where you can make announcements. It is a line that sits on top of the menu, and you can announce your discounts, sale, or free shipping promotions. There is also a dedicated video section for this theme, and the video is embedded where the customer can play and pause it without having to leave your website.
Features of the Shopify Debut Theme
This theme is packed with features specifically made to increase your conversion rate. We will take a look at each one and I will explain what these features are about.
You can put as much as two images in the hero banner. You are not limited to one banner in your landing page; you can create more than one.
The great thing about a hero banner is that it is huge, and it covers the entire width of the screen. Use this to make bold announcements, or use bold photos that showcase your product line.
This is the strip at the top of the landing page where you can put an announcement. Whether the customer is viewing your site on desktop or mobile, this is the first thing that he is going to see.
On the screenshot below, the promotional banner is the blue strip. On it, you can find the announcement about free shipping. You can change this text from your theme dashboard according to what fits your business.
Product recommendationsThis is new and a wonderful addition to the theme. If you have ever shopped at Amazon, you may have seen some product recommendations from the Amazon site that says “you may like” or something like that.
If you use the Shopify Debut theme, you no longer have to install an app that does this. This is great because apps that do this cross-sell can cost you an extra $9 per month.
On the upper right corner of your store, the customer can click on the magnifying glass and type a search query. Your store will automatically show products related for that query.
In the example below, we typed “side table” and the store is now showing a dropdown of two products, both of which have the key words “side table”.
Built for small catalogs
The theme was built for stores with small catalogs. What does this do? It means that the theme is not meant for big stores. You cannot build a lot of categories and sub-categories of products here.
Because of this limitation, it is easier to manage your store from the backend, and not get tempted to add unnecessary product pages that would only clutter your store.
Product filtering refers to an option that your customers can use to check some boxes so your store would only show products based in specific characteristics.
The filtering system is something you have to create on the back end with tags. For example, you may have several bags for sale with different colors. If you create a filter, your customers can choose to show only black bags, red bags, or orange ones.
Product filtering systems like this make it easier for your customer to find the ones they like. And once they do, they are more likely to buy. If you do not create a filtering system, the default is going to be the one shown on the screenshot below.
You can share the testimonials of your customers on your landing page. These texts need manual input, which means you have to type them yourself. The thing is, the testimonial section is built for that purpose, and you can add one or more testimonials on the section.
Home page video
Instead of a photo, you can use a video that you can embed from Vimeo. With this video, you can showcase to customers how they can use a product, or even show an ad. You can play around this feature and use this to your advantage.
Advantages of Using the Shopify Debut Theme
Why should you use the Shopify Debut theme? Will it make your work easier? Let us take a look at its advantages.
Did you know that Google penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly? How? If your store is not optimized for mobile, your site visitors will find it so difficult to navigate it on their phones. As a result, they will leave and this increases your bounce rate, and also reduce the users’ session times.
If this happens, Google would think that you are not adding value to the customer’s experience, and your site will not be shown on the search engine.
The Debut theme is mobile-friendly, and will automatically change depending on what device your customer is using. With better customer experience, you can expect higher sales and better rankings on in Google.
Magnifier for Photos
On this store, the customer can hover his mouse on the product photo to see it at a larger scale. If you have shopped in Amazon or AliExpress, the way it works is the same.
What does it do?
If you have high resolution pictures, the customer can see the nooks and crannies of your product, and this can help the site visitor decide if he likes it. It is best used for toys and other items that have small components.
On the screenshot above, the photo that is highlighted in a square on the bottom left is the same photo that is beside the product name. If the mouse is not hovered it, the large photo shows the same table photo on the bottom left.
But if the mouse is hovered, parts of the photo get enlarged, and the site visitor can explore the different parts of the product before making a purchase.
Social Media buttons
On this theme, you can add different social media icons. If clicked, the customer would be taken to your business page on that platform.
Why is this important?
It is important so people can see how active you are on social media. Your social media pages are social proof that you are real and not a scammer. In addition to that, people who go to your social media channel can contact you easily, and they can also share your posts to their friends.
And if they do that, you basically get traffic for free. It is also like getting free ads and free endorsements.
On this theme, you can add the social media icons below the images, or you can place them on the footer of each page.
This is great if you have a brick-and-mortar store. It can easily show your site visitors where you are located. The map also adds credibility because if you have a physical location, the customers would think that you are real business, not just another faceless website.
The map is not shown by default. It is up to you to activate it or not. The map is based on Google Maps, so you need to register to Google Maps before your business can appear on it.
The theme comes with a blog page where you can publish helpful and meaningful posts. As you can see, you need a blog to help your website meet SEO targets. With a blog page, you can get free traffic from search engines from people who are interested in what you have to sell.
Once they get to your website because of your blog post, they would realize that you have a shop, and this should make them think of buying. If your blog posts are credible and helpful, it would be easier for a customer to part ways with his money.
My Rating for Shopify Debut Theme
I would rate this theme with 4 stars. I like it and it is a great theme for small businesses with small catalogs. I especially love the video on the hero banners, the filtering options, and the product recommendations. Apart from it being completely free, you also get functionalities that you would otherwise pay for.
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