Shopify has revolutionized the way small business owners can start selling online.
And with so many people looking for ways to make money from home during the pandemic, the e-commerce platform has only gone from strength to strength.
This fact has also seen an increase in quality themes designed specifically for Shopify.
I have tried a few over the past 18 months on a number of my webstores (both for review purposes and trying to find the best fit for my businesses).
One that stood out for its popularity is Debutify. Classed as the number 1 free theme on Shopify, there was nothing stopping me from giving it a go.
What follows is my experience using the Debutify theme, and whether I would recommend it to other Shopify users.
What is Debutify?
Debutify is a purpose-built, customizable, and fully-featured Shopify theme designed for use by online webstores. It is best categorized as a webstore theme, and it comes coded with the full range of features needed to successfully manage an eCommerce store.
This theme allows the merchant to brand the theme, i.e customize the theme so that its color scheme is the same as the business brand, while the header and footer of the theme feature the logo of the business.
This theme was developed by Ricky Hayes and Raphael Bergeron for online merchants who sell their products through Shopify. It was launched in 2019 in Canada.
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Debutify allows anyone to build and launch a Shopify store with just a series of clicks and following the instructions presented on the screen during the theme building and customization process.
The theme comes with pre-loaded plugins and add-ons, thus obviating the need for a merchant to configure these plugins. Likewise, the pre-loaded plugins are fully compatible with the theme and do not make the website unnecessarily slow.
Normally, most non-techies who want to own a Shopify store cannot create the store because they do not know how to proceed when they reach the theme building stage, and this increases the barrier to starting a webstore.
Debutify was built with this special category of merchants in mind. It is provided as a free-to-use theme, meaning that anyone can use the theme after downloading it. It also comes with templates that allow for easy theme customization.
For the merchant, this theme provides an easy system to set up the webstore, including setting up common webstore features such as product categorization, order management, and marketing systems.
After the webstore is set up, the theme handles well customer experience on the website through its robust design management system that allows for easy navigation of the website, simple product searching, and easy checkout.
These backend and frontend theme features are explained below.
Freemium & Paid Versions of Debutify
As a freemium theme, Debutify comes in 2 downloadable versions – Debutify-Default (free version) and Debutify (which is the paid version). Each version comes with multiple templates that one can use to style their website.
The theme comes with editable and customizable homepage and product pages. The design of each page can be set by a template. Each template features a customizable navigation and footer menu.
There is also a customizable testimonial section. For page customization, Debutify provides the theme settings function in the dashboard. This allows the merchant to set the color scheme, layout, and page settings in the entire website.
Debutify is an eCommerce-optimized theme and is thus light on web resources and fast in loading. Its product page is designed to beautifully display the image and details of the products on the same page.
Regarding functionality, the theme comes with a customizable search function that can be used as an advanced product filter, as well as an image slider that is to be used to display product images in a slideshow.
It also allows one to set how reviews by customers are to be presented on the website.
The theme settings can be applied globally i.e across desktop and mobile websites or can be set to apply to either the desktop or mobile display. This allows one to make the theme responsive to mobile displays.
The theme also provides a quick view, which allows the visitor to view a snippet of product details.
The main features available in Debutify are:
Debutify allows the merchant to embed a promotion video for a product on a product page. This video can be a link to a YouTube video, a link to another video hosting platform, or a video player that plays a promotion video hosted in the server of the webstore.
This provides chat functionality and is directly plugged into the messaging platform of the website. One can design it as a support chatbox or informational chatbox that allows a visitor to subscribe to a newsletter, or learn more about the product being viewed. If the visitor interacts with the chatbox, the merchant receives a notification.
This allows the visitor to easily add a product to the shopping cart. It is displayed as a button next to the product, and can even be customized to appear beside each product in a product listing.
It also allows the merchant to set a sticky add-to-cart bar that remains as a floating bar on the website when the user scrolls down a page. This bar also comes with a Buy Now button that allows the customer to start the purchase process with a single click of the button.
This add-on allows the webstore to estimate the delivery time of a purchased product to the customer based on provided address and location details. This estimated delivery time is then shown to the customer. This add-on serves to increase trading transparency.
This is a form on the checkout page that allows the customer to enter the coupon code so as to redeem a discount when making a purchase.
This is related to shipping. It serves to show the amount that the customer needs to spend so that (s)he can benefit from free shipping.
This allows the website to be compliant with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
This pop-up appears when a visitor is viewing a product page, and it shows him/her that a discount is available through a coupon code. This pop-up makes the webstore more appealing to customers.
This is a special add-on that appears when a visitor scrolls a webpage, and it allows him/her to subscribe to the newsletter provided by the webstore.
This allows the merchant to add a confidence badge to the checkout page. It serves to assure the customer that (s)he is dealing with a reputable webstore.
Order Processing & Inventory Management
This is provided as an integration with the checkout system used by the website. It allows a customer to select a product, add it to the cart, and then pay for it. There are addons that provide information about estimated delivery time and coupons/discounts.
This theme comes with plugins that support inventory management. These plugins show the number of products available, as well as the quantity of each product brand that is in stock.
Relatedly, when a product is sold out, the product page lists the product as unavailable for purchase or sold-out. The merchant has the option to hide this sold-out notification.
One of the key domains of inventory management is product categorization and cataloging.
Cataloging and Categorization
Cataloging simply means listing all the product brands sold by the webstore.
Categorization allows for brands to be grouped into a product class due to shared qualities eg different brands of kids’ clothes can be grouped together as kid apparel, and kid apparel is then used as a menu item in the navigation menu.
Debutify supports integration with the Live View, which shows the number of visitors currently on the page. It also allows for integration with a customer relationship management (CRM) system, as well as integration with channels for email marketing and multi-channel marketing. It also supports social media integration.
Additionally, Debutify integrates with systems for promotion management, shipping management, returns management, and review management.
Customer Data Security
This is provided by the Shop Protect feature of the theme. Apart from encrypting communication between the website and external data servers, it also locks and protects theme customizations, thereby preventing anyone from copying the theme. It also enables the website to be GPDR-compliant.
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Mobile Access and High-Conversion Design
A high-converting theme is any website theme that provides a good user experience and easy-to-understand UI that allows a visitor to navigate the website, and choose any of the offered items (or in the case of Shopify, choose a product) and then pay for it.
In other words, the theme is designed to optimize conversion rates.
Debutify is a responsive mobile-ready theme and comes with optimized search functionality that provides 2 key services – search service and product finder.
This allows a visitor to easily find a product, and then use the cart to checkout and pay for the product.
Dedicated FAQ Page
Debutify comes with a dedicated page for frequently asked questions (FAQ). A webstore that fills this FAQ page appears professional and dedicated to its customers. It also allows the webstore to provide a helpful guide for its customers. Ultimately, this serves to build customer confidence.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Debutify comes with a mega menu and drop-down menus that make website navigation easy for the visitor, as well as cleanly present the store’s keywords to search engines.
Search engines give more weight to menu items, and by allowing the merchant to use keywords as menu items, then the webstore can be scored highly by popular search engines, especially Google.
Evidently, Debutify serves to make the website optimized for crawling and indexing by search engines.
Training and Live Support
Debutify comes with multiple add-ons which can make using the theme difficult for a novice. To manage this, Debutify offers training on how to use the theme, and there is also 24/7 live support provided for users. Even so, the training offered by Ricky Hayes is charged.
Debutify Pricing Plans
Debutify comes with 4 service plans – a free service plan for the default template, and 3 paid plans. The free plan provides a license for one webstore, but does not provide committed customer support, apart from the support that one gets in the Facebook group.
This section focuses on the paid plans. For each of the 3 paid plans, there is a 14-day free trial provided. One can also upgrade to a higher plan, or downgrade to a lower plan after using a specific plan.
Pros & Cons of Debutify
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