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Lightspeed Review

Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Updated May 19, 2022
  • We chose Lightspeed as the best POS system for retail businesses because of its many retail-specific offerings.
  • Lightspeed offers affordable pricing for businesses of all sizes. 
  • Lightspeed’s acquisition of ShopKeep makes it a good option for brick-and-mortar retailers looking to add an e-commerce option. 
  • This review is for business owners who run a retail store and are looking for a POS system with retail-specific features like Lightspeed provides.

Lightspeed is a leading point-of-sale (POS) system provider that serves the retail and restaurant industries. Its cloud-based POS system runs on an iPad and is a good option for businesses of all sizes. We chose Lightspeed as the best POS system for retail enterprises because the software comes with a robust set of features for the industry. Lightspeed also offers a wide variety of pricing plans, subscriptions, and advanced loyalty and inventory management tools. The company also has features that make it easier for brick-and-mortar retailers to start selling online

Lightspeed Review

Lightspeed

The Verdict

Lightspeed is the best POS system for retailers because it provides solutions specific to stores, restaurants and businesses that engage in e-commerce.

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Lightspeed Editor’s Score: 94/100

Cost90
Features100
Hardware90
Usability95
Customer service95

Why Lightspeed Is Best for Retailers

Lightspeed POS dashboard
Lightspeed has a user-friendly dashboard.

Lightspeed is a cloud-based POS system that provides the hardware and software options retailers need to run their businesses. The advanced inventory management features are helpful for business owners who want to manage inventory across multiple locations. Meanwhile, Lightspeed Restaurant, one version of the Lightspeed POS software, is a particularly good option for anyone who runs a bar, cafe or full-service restaurant. 

In addition, the software is used by more than 1,200 golf courses worldwide. Its golf management solution includes an easy-to-use tee sheet, retail management features for the pro shop and information about customer preferences. Plus, since the software is cloud-based, you can access your data from anywhere. 

Did you know?Did you know?: Lightspeed offers various features that are useful for restaurants, retailers and golf courses. But its advanced inventory management features are what really stand out. It’s one of the best options for retailers that need to manage inventory across multiple locations.

Pros

  • Lightspeed allows you to track inventory across multiple store locations.
  • The platform integrates with more than 250 apps so that you can create a fully custom solution for your business.
  • This POS system is also a good option for restaurants and golf courses.

Cons

  • You’ll have to sign up for an annual contract to get Lightspeed’s lowest pricing.
  • Lightspeed may not be affordable for brand-new retail stores. 

Usability

Lightspeed is designed with retail businesses in mind, so the vendor offers a number of retail-specific features. The POS system works for businesses of all sizes and has an intuitive interface and customization options. Since the software is mobile friendly, you can access all your information on the go.

You can extend Lightspeed’s functionality by taking advantage of its third-party integrations. The software integrates with hundreds of popular third-party apps you can use to run your business. In addition, the company provides one-on-one onboarding, a dedicated account manager and 24/7 customer support. It’s comforting to know that you can always contact someone to get your questions answered. 

Lightspeed Features

Inventory managementLightspeed makes it easy to track your inventory, create product variations and bundle items.
Customer managementYou can use Lightspeed to create customer profiles.
Loyalty programsYou can create custom loyalty programs for online and offline sales.
Employee managementThe POS system makes it easier to monitor the number of hours your employees work and run performance reports.
E-commerce toolsYou can use the company’s e-commerce tools to build an online store and set up online ordering.
ReportingLightspeed can run more than 50 types of reports and track all sales data in real time.
IntegrationsYou can integrate Lightspeed with more than 250 apps.

Lightspeed is our pick as the best POS system for retailers because it provides more than just POS options. You can also use the POS system to manage your inventory, run reports and set up an e-commerce website. Let’s look at the full range of features Lightspeed offers. 

Lightspeed add new products
Lightspeed lets you easily add new products.

Inventory Management

Inventory management is a key aspect of running a retail store, and Lightspeed makes it easy. You can use the software to track your inventory, create product variations and bundle items. You can also create purchase orders, manage vendors and track inventory across multiple locations.

Lightspeed tracking customer information and purchases
Lightspeed helps you track customer information and purchases.

Customer Management

Lightspeed’s built-in CRM tools for its POS system let you create customer profiles, add notes about their preferences and run reports on their sales. The company offers other helpful POS tools like viewing purchase histories, assigning VIP status to certain customers, and offering rewards and promotions. You could also explore the best CRM software provided by non-POS companies as an alternative option.

Loyalty Programs

Lightspeed allows shop owners to integrate customer sales data with loyalty tools to send targeted offers and deals. You can do several important things with this feature:

  • Build customer loyalty programs for online and offline sales.
  • Send rewards and discounts to VIP customers and on customers’ birthdays.
  • Use drag-and-drop tools and built-in templates to design email promotions.

Employee Management

Lightspeed’s employee management tools give you flexibility when controlling user access. You can choose between role-based control and customized permissions for each user. With the latter, you decide the tasks and data you want each user or role-based group of users to access.

This POS system also has a built-in time clock and reporting tools to see employees’ hours and run performance reports to view their sales, profits and tips. [Learn about choosing the right time clock for your business.]

E-commerce

E-commerce is increasingly popular, especially since the pandemic, with many physical stores either moving online or adding an online element to their business. That’s why we love how you can do all this with Lightspeed:

  • Build an online store.
  • Choose from more than 50 professional themes.
  • Show off your products in high definition.
  • Choose from several mobile-responsive and customizable templates.
  • Enable your customers to shop 24/7.
  • Offer online ordering and in-person pickup.

And the company’s recent acquisition of ShopKeep makes it an excellent choice for brick-and-mortar stores looking to add an e-commerce solution to their business. 

Key TakeawayFYI: If you sell online, you need to comply with special rules regarding sales tax for e-commerce.

Lightspeed overall performance
Lightspeed provides a clear look at your overall performance.

Reporting

Lightspeed’s retail POS allows you to run more than 50 built-in POS reports, and you can track everything in real time. Here are some of Lightspeed’s reporting capabilities:

  • Revenue reports on sales, trends and profits
  • Inventory reports on costs, margins, transfers and negative inventory
  • Employee performance reports on sales, voids and performance

For an extra fee, you can add Lightspeed Analytics, which gives advanced views of stock, customer experience and staff performance. 

Integrations

Lightspeed offers more than 250 integrations through its app store, allowing you to create a customized solution for your business. You can integrate the POS system with high-quality credit card processors, top accounting software, analytics programs, marketing services and more. 

There are also apps for e-commerce functions, including chat programs and social media. Lightspeed offers an API for its retail software, but access to the restaurant API is limited to Lightspeed partners.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway: With Lightspeed, you can track inventory, manage employees and customers, run advanced reports, integrate with third-party apps, sell online, and introduce loyalty programs.

Lightspeed Cost

Lightspeed’s website is transparent about its monthly and annual plans, but it doesn’t list any pricing for its POS hardware. If you’re looking for a customized package or run a larger business with a high sales volume, you’ll need to contact the vendor for a custom quote. 

POS Plans

One of the advantages of choosing Lightspeed for your POS system is that you can pay monthly or sign up for an annual subscription. The monthly plan is a good option for anyone looking to try out the software. However, you’ll get the best deal if you sign up for the annual package. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that the pricing listed on Lightspeed’s website is for businesses with just one location. If you run a business with multiple retail locations, you’ll need to reach out to a sales rep for a custom quote. 

Lightspeed offers four pricing plans for its software, and the company lists prices for both its annual and monthly plans. Each plan comes with one register and integrated payments. 

  • Lean: When you sign up for Lightspeed Retail, the Lean plan costs $79 per month. For Lightspeed Restaurant, the cost is $39 per month. It doesn’t come with any e-commerce, accounting, loyalty or analytics features.
  • Standard: The Standard plan costs $139 per month for Lightspeed Retail and $119 per month for Lightspeed Restaurant. This plan has an accounting integration so you can connect your accounting software to your POS system. It also includes the e-commerce module, allowing you to take your store online.
  • Advanced: The Advanced plan costs $239 per month for Lightspeed Retail and $289 per month for Lightspeed Restaurant. This plan includes a loyalty module and an analytics module so you can receive deeper insights into your sales data and reward customers accordingly.
  • Enterprise: The Enterprise plan is a customized option with unique quotes. It’s best for large companies and high-volume merchants. 

If you run a golf business, you’ll have to contact Lightspeed for a custom quote. 

Payment Processing

When you sign up as a Lightspeed customer, you can choose between the Lightspeed Retail and Lightspeed Restaurant software. Regardless of the solution you choose, you’ll have access to Lightspeed Payments, which is the company’s payment processing service. It has flat-rate pricing with no additional fees, which is another reason we chose it as our pick for the best POS system for retail businesses. 

The fee for credit cards accepted in person is 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction, and the fee for card-not-present transactions is 2.6% + $0.30 per transaction. Customers can also use one of Lightspeed’s payment processing partners, such as Cayan, Worldpay, Vantiv Express and Mercury Payment Services. 

Setup

As a Lightspeed customer, you can receive one-on-one onboarding and setup assistance. The setup process is fairly easy, but there’s always a customer service representative available to help.

After you sign up, you’ll book a complimentary onboarding session with a member of the Lightspeed team. During this hour-long session, you’ll learn how to install the software and use the POS workflows. Once you’ve completed the training, you’ll receive a wrap-up email with links to helpful videos and articles you can reference.

Customer Service

In addition to providing one-on-one onboarding, Lightspeed also offers 24/7 customer support. The company also has a number of helpful resources, including industry-specific tools, guides, videos and a customer forum. Although Lightspeed is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, it does have a B+ rating.

Drawbacks

Lightspeed’s website is very transparent about its software pricing, but it doesn’t provide any POS hardware pricing. That makes it harder to gauge the system’s actual cost and know whether all of the components truly fit your budget. However, the POS system works with third-party hardware, including devices you may already own. The company posts a full list of compatible models online so that you can shop around for the best value.

Another potential drawback is the platform’s limited number of payment processing options. There’s a chance you may have to drop your preferred payment processor if it doesn’t work with Lightspeed’s POS system. 

Key TakeawayKey takeaway: Lightspeed doesn’t provide POS hardware pricing on its website, making it more challenging to shop for a total system. It also integrates with fewer payment processors than many of its rivals do.

Methodology

To review Lightspeed, we compared it alongside a dozen other POS systems. This gave us a good sense of the product’s strengths and weaknesses. While Lightspeed is a strong offering for both retail businesses and food establishments, if you are specifically seeking a restaurant-focused POS system, check out our review of TouchBistro and our Toast review.

FAQs

What is Lightspeed? 

Lightspeed is a POS system that provides hardware and software options to retail stores, restaurants and golf courses. The company is a great option for retail stores due to its inventory management and e-commerce features.

Is Lightspeed similar to Shopify?

Both Lightspeed and Shopify offer POS solutions and e-commerce platforms for retail businesses. However, Shopify is a better option for online businesses, while Lightspeed is ideal for companies with multiple brick-and-mortar locations. Lightspeed is also a good option for brick-and-mortar businesses looking to expand online. [Related article: Retailing on a Budget: 8 Brick-and-Mortar Alternatives]

Overall Value

We recommend Lightspeed for …

  • Retailers, restaurants and golf courses.
  • Businesses looking for flexible monthly pricing plans.
  • Companies seeking advanced inventory management features.

We don’t recommend Lightspeed for …

  • Brand-new businesses.
  • Small companies on a tight budget.
Lightspeed Review

Lightspeed

The Verdict

Lightspeed is the best POS system for retailers because it provides solutions specific to stores, restaurants and businesses that engage in e-commerce.

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Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who writes about finance and business. She has also written for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Fox Business and Business Insider. Jamie has written about a variety of B2B topics like finance, business funding options and accounting. She also writes about how businesses can grow through effective social media and email marketing strategies.