The Shopify Debut theme was once one of the most popular free themes available to store owners on the Shopify platform. However, as of 2023, the option has disappeared completely from the Shopify theme marketplace, leaving many new store owners wondering what happened.
While there are still a variety of themes to choose from on the Shopify marketplace at the time of writing (11 free and 114 paid), the Debut theme is no longer accessible.
Here’s everything you need to know about what happened to this Shopify template, and an insight into the alternatives you can explore.
What Happened to the Shopify Debut Theme?
In November 2022, Shopify announced a handful of themes for their online store builder were being “sunset”, or removed from the marketplace. The Debut free theme was among a list of 9 available themes in total removed from Shopify.
The decision to abandon these themes was made when Shopify updated its ecommerce builder to Shopify Online Store 2.0. Eleven new themes were introduced into the “free” category on the theme marketplace, to replace all of the old-fashioned non-OS 2.0 solutions.
While some existing Shopify merchants may still have access to the old themes, new merchants will only be able to choose from the updated list of themes, compatible with Online Store 2.0.
Although the Debut theme was popular in its time, it lacked the functionality offered by the updated Shopify ecommerce builder. The new themes introduced today include drag-and-drop sections and blocks which allow users to create custom pages throughout their store faster, and more effectively than before. All of these themes have been tested to meet Shopify’s highest performance standards, ensuring a quick and streamlined experience for buyers.
Free Alternatives to the Debut Theme
The good news for Shopify website owners, is there are still various free themes to choose from, each with its own distinctive aesthetic and features. All of these new themes are updated to support the Online Store 2.0 experience, and come with free updates to access throughout the life of your store.
- Ride: A dynamic theme designed for the sporting world, this product comes with quick view features, a mega menu, and sticky headers. The sleek and innovative theme has a flexible layout to help you showcase your products, and includes advanced customization options, a range of product discovery and merchandising features. There’s also support for both editorial content and visual storytelling, with convenient image and text blocks.
- Refresh: Bold and eye-catching, this clean and modern Shopify theme is easy to use, with a fantastic, contemporary design. Users can take advantage of assertive headings, minimalist color palettes, and tools designed to emphasize product details. You can share testimonials, quality information, specialist certifications and more with adaptive section layouts.
- Sense: Fresh and energizing, the Sense theme is perfect for health and beauty brands, with soft gradients and curved elements that guide customers through your store. You can leverage comprehensive product descriptions, videos, and testimonials, and access a range of advanced customization options to highlight the unique components of your products without having to experiment with any coding or programming.
- Craft: Featuring a sleek and sophisticated design, the Craft theme is subtle and refined, with elegant typography and generous spacing to draw focus to your products and content. The product is designed to highlight storytelling, allowing companies to pull attention to their brand with sections and templates intended for rich narratives.
- Taste: Great for food and beverage merchants, Taste is a great theme for bold branding, with a spacious design featuring bold headlines, thin strokes, and industrial fonts. You can leverage a high-contrast color palette on understated backgrounds, with product sections with larger product cards, bespoke FAQs, and product highlights.
- Studio: Well-suited to the needs of artists and creative professionals, Studio is an authentic and compelling theme, with stylish typography and colorful accents to frame collections and products. You can take advantage of collection-based navigations, featured collections for galleries, new arrival sections, artist profiles, and creator filters. This theme looks amazing on smartphones and smaller devices too.
- Origin: Blending traditional and modern elements, the Origin theme comes with a host of great features, including a stock counter to inspire purchases, and a neutral color palette paired with fun and quirky typography. You can also share valuable stories with your buyers using structured layouts that encourage the use of vivid and engaging text.
- Crave: An eye-catching theme built to connect with shoppers on the move, this vibrant and playful Shopify template leverages bold colors and distinct shadows to capture the attention of your customers. The mobile optimized layouts come with dynamic checkout options to encourage selling, as well as a range of fantastic customization features.
- Publisher: Ideal for those in the media landscape, the progressive design of the Publisher theme includes subtle gradients, contemporary typography, and specialist immersive product cards with dark product imagery. You can also take advantage of minimalist navigation, to help ensure your brand remains a priority. Adding contextual links to products and categories throughout the page is quick and simple.
- Colorblock: Confident and colorful, the Colorblock Shopify theme combines atypical typography with customizable blocks of color to amplify products with a trendy feel. Ideal for companies with large catalogs, the theme allows companies to highlight collections of any size with expanded menu navigation and a range of advanced filtering capabilities.
Choosing an Alternative to the Debut Theme
Although the popular Debut theme might not be an option for Shopify vendors anymore, there are still some great alternatives out there if you’re looking for a free design. All of the new Shopify themes are faster than ever, and extremely easy to customize without coding expertise.
Remember, if you can’t find a solution you love in the free collection from Shopify, you can also check out some of the premium themes too. While these alternative options do come with an additional price to pay, they also feature a wider range of features and functionality to experiment with, so they could be a great option for growing brands.
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