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Shopify Dawn Theme Review: Best Default Shopify Theme

April 01, 2024
Written and researched by experts at AvadaLearn more about our methodology

By Sam Nguyen

CEO Avada Commerce

Are you looking for a theme that can transform your Shopify store’s performance with its stunning design? Look no further than the Shopify Dawn Theme.(Dawn Theme is a replacement theme for the Shopify Debut Theme.)

Shopify Dawn Theme is acclaimed for its sleek design and stellar performance. But does it truly live up to the hype of being the best default Shopify theme? In this article, we’ll delve deep into its features, analyze its performance, and help you decide whether Dawn is the ideal starter theme for your Shopify store.

Key Takeaways
  • Shopify Dawn Theme is a free, customizable theme packed with many advanced features.
  • While it has its pros, such as modern design, responsiveness, and fast loading speed, it also has limited features and technical issues.
  • It is ideal for Shopify store owners with a limited budget but still want to build a distinctive and captivating website.

A Brief Overview of the Shopify Dawn Theme

What is the Shopify Dawn Theme?

Shopify Dawn theme is the default theme designed for Shopify stores.

The Dawn theme exudes the vibe of minimalism and elegance, purposefully crafted to assist Shopify store owners with a restricted budget in creating an exclusive and captivating website.

With its simple and modern design, the Shopify Dawn theme is ideal for businesses in a variety of industries, including fashion, beauty, and home goods.

And the best part is: It’s totally FREE in the Shopify Theme Store. So try it out today and see the results for yourself

Features of the Dawn Theme

As said, Dawn is Shopify’s reference theme. That means it has quite a decent number of good features for your ecommerce store.

The Shopify Dawn theme has advanced features of an online store 2.0, like an easy theme editor, free meta fields, app design block, sections, etc. It is packed with features that can help you create a professional and engaging website, facilitating the purchase process.

Here are the main features of the Dawn theme:

Cross-selling and recommended products can encourage customers to explore more products and make additional purchases.

Promotional banners can also encourage customers to make a purchase.

High-quality, high-resolution images and image galleries give customers a clear idea of what the product looks like.

Image rollover and zoom can allow customers to examine the finer details of the product.

Ingredients or nutritional information can be helpful for customers who are looking for specific healthcare products.

Lookbooks and product videos can provide a more immersive experience and showcase the product in action.

Enhanced search can help customers quickly find what they’re looking for.

A mega menu can be used to display categories and subcategories

Product filtering and sorting options can help customers narrow down their search results.

Recommended products on product pages or the homepage can encourage customers to explore more products.

One of the best things about the Dawn Shopify theme is that it supports embedded apps.

These apps can be added to your theme in different ways. For instance, you can add app embeds that float or appear as an overlay on your website or add app blocks that give you app functionality exactly where you want them on your website. Additionally, other apps can inject code right into your theme’s code, giving you more control over the app settings.

Dawn also comes with a custom Liquid section, which is great for adding custom Liquid code directly from the editor. You can use fields to capture custom blocks of HTML and Liquid content and even integrate certain types of apps directly into your theme. This feature lets you create customized pages that reflect your shop’s unique character and brand.

Besides, the Shopify Dawn theme editor board allows for a high level of customization, making it easy to add custom elements to your online store. Other apps can inject code right into your theme’s code. This adds functionality and lets you customize the app itself — or certain settings — all within the theme editor.

Dawn makes it super easy to add apps to your website. You can install apps to add cool features to your new theme without any hassle.

Pros and cons of the Dawn Theme

Of course, this is not a one-size-fits-all theme, as it has its own pros and cons. Here are the pros and cons of using the Dawn Theme on your Shopify store:

Pros of the Dawn Theme

  • Modern and clean design: Dawn has a simple yet elegant design that can help showcase your products in a visually appealing way.
  • Responsive design: This Shopify theme is optimized for different devices, including desktops, tablets, and mobile phones. This means your online store will look great on any device.
  • Easy customization: Dawn has a variety of built-in customization options that allow you to personalize your store without advanced technical skills. You can adjust colors, fonts, and other settings to match your brand.
  • Fast loading speed: Dawn is significantly faster than its predecessor. It is 35% faster than Debut across all areas and has advanced features that make editing fast and easy.
  • Good for large catalogs: If you have a lot of products, Dawn’s layout can accommodate large catalogs and make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for.
  • The advanced features offered by Online Store 2.0

Cons of the Dawn Theme

Limited features

Sure, it’s free. That comes with a cost: It lacks many advanced features that help drive sales in many premium themes, such as:

  • Countdown Timer: to create a sense of urgency by adding a countdown timer to product pages.
  • Promo Popups: to provide a customizable popup feature that can be used to promote sales, new products, or other special offers.
  • Recently Viewed: to quickly access previously viewed products.
  • Stock Counter: to create a sense of urgency for customers.

So, if you find it okay without such features, then keep using the Shopify Dawn theme. But if not, you may find a premium Shopify theme a better option.

Technical issues

Users of the Dawn theme may face these problems:

  • Updates not occurring automatically and requiring manual intervention.
  • Blurry image banners even when the image size is correct.
  • The customization process may be complex or challenging.

Customer reviews: What do customers think about the Dawn Theme?

So what do customers actually think of this Shopify theme? Well, according to the reviews, opinions are pretty mixed. Out of a total of 111 reviews, 41 were positive, 35 were neutral, and 35 were negative.

On the positive side, many users like the theme’s simple and clean design, especially when they’re on mobile devices. Several reviewers commented that their customers found the store easy to navigate and use. Additionally, the fact that the theme is free is a major selling point for many people, especially those just starting out with their online store.

On the negative side, there were a few recurring issues that users faced. Some users reported issues with the image banner, which would consistently appear blurry regardless of size. Some also found that the theme didn’t allow for certain features they wanted, like the ability for customers to create accounts or log out of their accounts.

All in all, it seems like the Dawn theme is a bit of a mixed bag—while it offers a clean and simple design that many users appreciate, there are some technical issues and limitations that may frustrate some.

How to make the most of the Dawn Shopify Theme?

The Dawn theme is an excellent option for your Shopify store, and it includes many features that can help you achieve the best practices.

Make your site esthetically pleasing

First impressions matter, and an excellent visual appeal is a must for your Shopify store. Some best practices to ensure your website is esthetically pleasing include:

  • Display your product photography with a clean white background and include lifestyle photos of your products being used. It’s crucial to ensure your photography is crisp and looks great, as it can capture the customer’s attention in 50 milliseconds.

  • Limit your website to two main colors and use them wisely. You don’t want to flood your website with different colors, and it’s best to use them wisely.
  • Use typography that is easy to read and consistent throughout your website.

Ensure the basic functions

Creating a functional website is essential for a great user experience. Here are some best practices to achieve this:

  • Your website must load fast. A slow-loading website can cause visitors to abandon it quickly.
  • Use clear and concise language to describe your products so customers know exactly what they’re buying.

  • Make sure your website is easy to navigate. Use clear and intuitive menus, and make sure it’s easy to find what customers are looking for.
  • The Dawn theme allows you to customize your header and footer to fit your brand and design. Use this to add your logo, social media icons, and any other information you want to include.
  • The Dawn theme includes several customizable homepage sections, including a slideshow, featured collections, and a featured product section. Use these sections to highlight your best products and promotions.

Make your site user-friendly

Your website must be user-friendly, which means it should be easy to use and navigate. Here are some best practices to help you achieve this:

  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, as many customers shop using their smartphones.

  • Make sure your website is accessible and can be used by everyone, including those with disabilities.
  • Use high-quality images that are optimized for the web so they load quickly.

Using the Dawn theme can make the process even easier, and with these tips, you’ll be on your way to creating a fantastic online store.

Examples of the Dawn Shopify Theme: Top 5 E-commerce Stores Using the Dawn Theme

There are many real-world Shopify stores that have used the Dawn theme with great success, providing excellent examples of its versatility and functionality. Check out some examples below:

In-N-Out Burger Shop

Industry: Food & Beverage

In-N-Out Burger Shop is the official merchandise store for the famous fast food chain. They use the Dawn theme to create an easy-to-use online shop that features a range of branded apparel and accessories for their loyal customers.

Stride Rite

Industry: Footwear

Stride Rite is a popular children’s shoe brand offering high-quality footwear for kids of all ages. Their online store uses the Dawn theme to showcase their products in a clean and modern way, with a focus on ease of use and customer experience.

Sarasota Magazine Shop

Industry: Home Furnishings

Industry West is a furniture and decor e-commerce website. Their website features a modern and minimalistic design that showcases their products in a visually appealing manner. Overall, their use of the Dawn theme helps create a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience for their customers.

iLovePDF Store

Industry: Software & Technology

iLovePDF is a popular online tool for editing and manipulating PDF files. Their online store, which uses the Dawn theme, offers a range of premium features and plans to help users get the most out of their PDF editing experience.

iFit Summit Push

Industry: Fitness & Wellness

iFit Summit Push is a fitness brand that offers a range of workout programs and equipment. Their online store, powered by the Dawn theme, showcases their products and services in an easy-to-use and visually appealing way, with a focus on helping customers achieve their fitness goals.

Is Dawn a good Shopify theme for your online Shopify store?

The answer is yes. Based on the feedback and reviews of Shopify merchants who have used the Dawn theme, it is generally considered a well-designed and versatile theme. It offers a clean and modern design with customizable sections, making it suitable for a variety of product types and store styles. Additionally, it has a responsive design that is optimized for mobile devices, which is essential for providing a good user experience and improving SEO.

Who is the Shopify Dawn Theme for?

While the Dawn theme may not have all the features of premium themes, it offers a range of features that are essential for e-commerce websites. So it is best for:

  • Businesses who are just starting out or have a limited budget for their website design.
  • Businesses that prioritize a minimalist and chic design aesthetic and want to showcase their products in a media-forward way.
  • Businesses with little web designing or coding experience. It’s super quick from start to finish.
  • Businesses that are new to Shopify themes and want to understand how certain architectural components can be used.

Overall, the Dawn Theme is a great option for businesses who want to create a visually appealing, easy-to-use, and functional e-commerce website without breaking the bank.

Which Shopify Theme is better: Debut or Dawn?

Debut used to be the default Shopify theme for creating a Shopify store, but now it is no longer available in the Shopify Theme Store. So as you consider Dawn, you may wonder how the new theme is different from the old theme. Here are some key differences between the two themes:

  • Design: Debut has a more traditional and simple design, while Dawn has a more modern and trendy design.
  • Features: Dawn offers more features out-of-the-box, such as sticky navigation, product filtering, and predictive search. Debut is more basic in terms of features but offers more customization options.
  • Mobile responsiveness: Both themes are mobile responsive, but Dawn has a slight edge with its mobile-first design approach.
  • Speed: Dawn is generally faster, which can be important for user experience and SEO.
  • Price: Both themes are free.


In conclusion, the Shopify Dawn theme is a great free choice for any Shopify store looking to establish a strong online presence. With its minimalist and clean design, customizable homepage sections, and mobile-friendly layout, the Dawn theme can help you create a unique and engaging website that showcases your products and brand.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. He is an expert on the Shopify e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Sam loves talking about e-commerce and he aims to help over a million online businesses grow and thrive.