Lightspeed is a point-of-sale (POS) system that started in 2005 in Quebec, Canada. The POS developed intending to provide both the small and medium-sized organizations with a smart solution that is convenient, personalized, and easy to use.
The system is currently used worldwide, with over one hundred countries already utilizing the POS. However, its primary customers are in Canada, Australia, United States, and England.
Founded in Canada, Lightspeed became one of the fastest-growing companies for the period between 2006-2011. The POS is best for both retail outlets and restaurants. It has specific hardware and features that depend on the type of business.
The distinct features make it a one-stop-shop for businesses, as discussed below.
Lightspeed POS Features
Lightspeed POS has the inventory management feature, which makes it easy to track and manage stocks preventing any stock-outs and related voids. The vendor purchase order allows users to easily create a single order request from different vendors saving on time and money.
The feature also has pre-loaded catalogs that enable users to identify vendors with the best offers quickly. You can Items easily serialize items or categorize based on the product type and availability.
Lightspeed POS allows its users to get easy access to personal branding. Through this feature, the business owners can customize the POS to suit and fill the business and customer preferences, therefore, creating consistency.
The interface is easy to use for new employees saving on time and effort that would otherwise be useful to carry out other tasks. The feature also makes it quick for customers to pay for items without spending a lot of time on long queues.
On- the -spot transactions are an added feature that accepts fast payments on a highly secured platform.
Reporting & Analytics
The retail analytics feature provides an analysis of inventory available at any given time and a breakdown of customer frequency and preferences.
Business accounting is also done with minimal errors making it more accurate and time-saving. The analysis provides the managers with real-time accessibility allowing them to continually have an analytical perspective of their business no matter their physical location. Data interprets into valuable information that helps companies make insightful decisions.
The integrated time clock is an additional function that is relevant and useful to both retail outlets and restaurants as it makes provision for employee tracking. Managers can access detailed staff reports such as the hours worked, sales per employee, and the average transaction value.
The integrated payments feature is convenient for both managers and customers. Mobile payments, for instance, make it easy to receive/send payments from any location. Refunds are easy and fast to transact since all details are readily available in the system. Lightspeed POS is also PCI compliant, which means that all information in the POS system is secured and protected from any fraud.
The security of the data is kept secure through the EMV compatible hardware. Credit card details are processed and stored electronically, making it highly convenient for regular customers. The omnichannel function ensures that all sales are well-enabled, whether online or in-store. Customer experience and payment options are the same regardless of the mode of shopping.
The use of social media channels such as Facebook for marketing is enabled hence increasing overall sales.
Over time, organizations scale and increase the number of outlets they run, therefore expanding their operations. Lightspeed POS easily supports the running of different outlets making it easy and efficient for managers.
The feature allows businesses to centralize customer data, such as purchase history and preferences. Reporting for the various outlets is well captured and analyzed, giving the merchants a big picture of the operations for the various stores.
Transfer of items from one location to another is done within a click of a button, making it convenient, fast, and efficient.
The customer management feature is significant in managing and improving the customer experience. It allows managers to plan their customer’s future purchase based on fast-moving goods and customer preferences.
Users can easily create a customer’s profile, which can give details of the customer, their contacts, address, and items purchased frequently. It is simple to identify the types of customers, whether VIP or regular, and give automated discounts and gift cards. That way, customer loyalty is maintained, and new customer relations developed.
The modifier component allows users to take note of customer preference when placing an order. For example, if a customer is allergic to a specific ingredient, the attendant can quickly note the elements and send the order request to the kitchen staff without forgetting the specification. The information is stored in the system and appears every time the client places an order.
Onboarding and Support
The POS has an excellent customer support system to make it convenient for its users. Unlike other systems, Lightspeed allows its users to have online interactions with other peer users through a community forum.
New users get familiarized with the system through interactive webinar calls. One on one sessions allow the merchants to interact with Lightspeed technical team for additional support. Customer support is accessible 24/7 through emails, phone calls, and live chats.
Internet connectivity can vary from one location to another. Sometimes there are downtime instances that can be beyond control.
The cloud-based feature, however, enables merchants to work both offline and online and synchronizes all data on re-connection. Business interruptions are, therefore, rare, and customers do not have to know in case of such mishaps.
Customers expect flawless service whenever they are in a restaurant. Lightspeed has a mobile service feature that allows restaurant employees to take orders and send them to the kitchen from any place in the restaurant. At the same time, customers can pay for the service from their table without necessarily going to the counter, offering them payment flexibility.
The feature also provides a self-order function which allows customers to place their order and send to the kitchen department within a click of a button. Take-outs happen instantly, which allows for easy and cost-effective planning on the logistics involved during deliveries. Group bills are also simple to split using the billing feature, which allows equal division of the payment amongst group members.
Lightspeed Hardware And Pricing
Lightspeed Retail POS
The retail POS hardware can either be purchased as a bundle or as individual hardware. The bundled device comprises a LAN receipt printer, receipt paper, and a Lightspeed iPad stand. It also comes with a cash drawer, a Bluetooth scanner and USB scanner.
The same equipment can be sold individually, depending on the business requirements.
Pricing of the Lightspeed Retail POS varies depending on the specifications of the system as below.
- Basic POS starts at $69 per month billed annually or $79 billed monthly.
- Starter at $99 billed annually or $119 billed monthly
- Standard POS at $119 billed annually or $139 billed monthly
- Advanced at $169 billed annually or $189 billed monthly
- Pro POS at $229 billed annually or $259 billed monthly
The difference in pricing depends on the needs of a business.
High volume businesses would need a more powerful POS as opposed to smaller ones who might go for the basic POS features.
Lightspeed Restaurant POS
The hardware for the restaurant POS is made to withstand high pressures, spillages, or falls common in kitchens. The hardware bundle comes comprised of a LAN receipt printer, cash drawer, Lite server, a Lightspeed iPad stand, and a kitchen printer.
Other add-ons include the kitchen buzzer, which alerts kitchen staff when there are a new order and different printers such as the thermal printer, which has triple interface connectivity. If a business does not need the entire bundle, they have the option of choosing which hardware their business needs.
The restaurant POS starts at $59 per month. The add-ons are into two, the essential features starting at $9 per month and premium features that start at $30 per month.
The basic features include the customer-facing display, kitchen display system, advanced reporting, and the self-order table menu. Premium add-ons comprise accounting and loyalty features, self-order kiosks, delivery integration, and the loyalty App.
The Lightspeed technical team is beneficial in helping merchants identify the add-ons that work best for their businesses. A free trial is offered to customers to enable them to understand how the POS works.
What is Lightspeed Experience Like?
Easy to Use
Customers using Lightspeed were impressed with how easy it is to familiarize and use the POS. Features such as the multi-store function simplify the management of different outlets and inventory.
The interface is friendly and straightforward, therefore making it less difficult for new users. The setting up process is smooth, with a lot of support from the technical team.
The method of ordering items is also fast and convenient for both the customer and the seller. Overall, the software is well-designed to suit the needs of both retail outlets and restaurants.
The POS has several features that are customizable depending on the business needs. Most of the features are relevant and highly useful to businesses.
The customer management feature, for example, is exceptional in managing customers, tracking payments, and making credit card transactions quickly. Customers using Lightspeed also reported that the inventory management feature is incredibly accurate in monitoring inventory, which helps prevent stock-outs and any related voids.
Other significant features include Email marketing, which happens using the Mail Sync feature and E-commerce, which allows for data syncing.
Lightspeed is Stable
Customers who’ve used Lightspeed described the POS to be stable with fewer downtimes, which is not the case with other systems. In the instance of downtime, the support team is quickly able to sort the problem and have the system up and running in no time.
Business interruptions are minimal, making the POS highly preferable to other methods due to its reliability. Most users who have switched from other systems have found Lightspeed to be more useful and worth the cost.
Good Reporting and Analytics
Using Lightspeed has simplified reporting and analysis for business owners. The POS has tools that provide detailed and accurate reports that are easy to understand and use for making decisions. An example is the inventory report, which customers described to be very useful and analytical.
Most businesses no longer have to fill their stores with inventory that does not move; the data helps them identify what moves and what doesn’t. Sales reports are easily linked to the inventory report to ensure consistency and identify any voids.
You save on time as managers do not have to spend a lot of hours calculating manually figures that can be complex and erroneous. The tool makes it simple and improves accuracy.
Excellent Customer Service
Lightspeed POS users described their customer service experience to be unique. The staff is friendly and prompt to respond to any queries and complaints. In a customer’s words, they described their experience to be ‘phenomenal’ having used the software for about two years.
The customer service is available 24/7 and give needed support if any difficulties. The training happens after the purchase is well conducted and helpful to the new users. Through customer feedback, the technical team is continuously improving the POS to be even better and preferable at all times.
Merchants who’ve been using the POS have seen growth in their businesses. The POS helps in tracking their sales and managing their costs. Customers have reported to being able to ascertain their profit margins every month and detect any changes or adjustments needed. A good example would increase in prices of supplies from vendors, which in turn cuts into the profit margin.
Through the POS, managers can quickly establish these changes and re-negotiate with the vendors or change the vendors to cheaper ones. Over time, profit margins increase, and businesses can quickly scale to higher levels.
Retailing Made Easier with Lightspeed
Running multiple retail outlets can be hectic for managers due to the high operations involved. Lightspeed has, however, made it easier for the managers by developing the multi-store feature, which makes it effortless to run and manage retail outlets.
Other numerous add-ons that Lightspeed has also made it easy to customize the POS based on the needs of a business. The loyalty program, for example, helps in growing customer support through rewards and discount mechanisms. New buyers are easy to attract and retain.
Merchants can organize the frequently used tabs on the display interface for easy and quick access. The features enable easy access to the inventory, employee and customer information, menu updates, and daily reports.
Most customers preferred using POS as it simplifies business operations.
Compatible With Credit Cards
Lightspeed POS is easily compatible with several credit cards and it makes it easy for merchants and customers to use it for shopping. Some credit cards that are compatible with the POS include Cayan, iZettle, and Mercury.
The company is one of the few that integrates with EMV-certified terminals and other third-party integrations. Most customers find this to be convenient and ideal for secure shopping.
What Did Customers Not Like About Lightspeed?
Most reviewers were generally happy with the POS, but a few had several complaints regarding Lightspeed, as discussed below.
Some customers reviewed having system malfunctions that are not easy to handle. Any help from the customer service did not do much in solving the hitches that can otherwise be persistent.
Lightspeed requires its customers to sign contracts that bind them and can only expire after a specific period. Some reviewers found this to be inconvenient and undesirable for users who want to shift to other systems.
Lightspeed Can Be Complex
Several users found the system challenging to use and maneuver through. The support provided by the technical team is not always enough for new users trying to familiarize themselves with the system.
The add-ons especially take some time to familiarize themselves with and can be a tiring process.
Comparing Lightspeed To Other POS Systems
Lightspeed vs. ShopKeep
Unlike ShopKeep, Lightspeed offers its customers an array of features that make it more preferable.
The price for Lightspeed is readily available on the company website, unlike ShopKeep, which only provides the buying price upon request to the vendor.
Lightspeed has more features than ShopKeep; some of these features include the retail and restaurant POS, the multi-location function, and the Loyalty program. These additional features make it more preferable to ShopKeep POS.
Lightspeed vs. Cin7 POS
Lightspeed is more competitive to Cin7 POS, mainly due to the price component. Lightspeed is more affordable with a starting price of $69 per month, while Cin7 starts at $299 per month, which is on the higher side.
When it comes to features, Lightspeed has more features and add-ons such as the two POS types it offers and the multi-location aspect, which is extremely useful to firms that have more than one outlet.
Lightspeed POS seems to live up to its name, with several users praising its efficiency and compatibility. The system is fast and scalable, implying that it is usable by all types of businesses, whether small or large. It has a lot of uses ranging from inventory management, customer management, employee management, and wholesome reporting and analysis.
The company is highly committed to introducing new and advanced features in its effort to keep up with the changing markets. Overall, a lot of reviewers are happy with the POS and have ranked it at between four to five stars rating.
Lightspeed is quite pricey, but the POS meets a lot of business requirements and ranks as one of the best in the market.