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Lightspeed Review

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
Staff writer
  • We chose Lightspeed as our pick for the best point-of-sale (POS) system for retail because it includes a robust set of retail-specific features for an affordable price.
  • Lightspeed offers business owners a lot of choices for pricing plans, subscriptions and advanced services.
  • With the recent acquisition of ShopKeep, Lightspeed is helping its brick-and-mortar retailers move online.
  • This review is for any business owner who runs a store and is looking for a POS system that offers a wide range of retail-specific features.

Lightspeed is a leading POS software provider that serves the retail, restaurant and golf industries. This cloud-based POS system runs on the iPad and is geared toward small and midsize businesses, but it also offers custom plans for larger companies.

Lightspeed

Lightspeed

The Verdict

Lightspeed is the best mobile POS system because it's fully mobile with solutions for stores, restaurants and online businesses. It has month-to-month contracts available, gives you a choice of processors, and works with third-party POS equipment.

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We chose Lightspeed as the best POS system for retail because the software comes with a robust set of features for retailers for a low cost. Lightspeed offers a wide array of pricing plans, choice in subscriptions, and advanced loyalty and inventory management tools. The company is also making it easy for brick-and-mortar companies to sell online, which is proving to be an important feature during the COVID-19 pandemic and likely the years to come.

Lightspeed's suite of retail software covers everything you need to run a retail business, including inventory, customer relations, employee management and advanced reporting. You also get choices for payment processors, integrations and accepted payment methods. Lightspeed offers a full suite of customer service options, including 24/7 phone and email support and free one-on-one training.

Lightspeed

Cost 1.8/2.0
Features 2.0/2.0
Hardware 1.8/2.0
Usability 1.9/2.0
Customer service 1.9/2.0
Editor's score 9.4/10


Lightspeed Pricing and Terms

Lightspeed's website is transparent about pricing for the company's service plans, but it doesn't list the costs for POS hardware. Lightspeed doesn't charge setup or installation fees for any of its plans. If you need a customized package of features or you have a larger business with a high sales volume, you can call Lightspeed to get a quote.

POS Software

A big plus with Lightspeed is that you can choose to pay month to month or go with an annual subscription. If you aren't sure about committing to Lightspeed (or any POS system), choose the month-to-month option. But if you are confident in your selection and want lower pricing, go with an annual plan. Keep in mind that the pricing on Lightspeed's website is for one location; if you have multiple locations, contact a sales rep to get a quote.

Before committing to Lightspeed, take advantage of the live demo and 14-day free trial to ensure it's right for you. That's particularly true if you are thinking about signing up for an annual subscription. Another plus is that all plans include free onboarding, unlimited 24/7 support, and a full library of guides, webinars, demos and videos.

Lightspeed Retail POS

Five pricing plans are available for this software version, and the company posts pricing for both its annual and month-to-month plans online. Each plan supports one register and includes inventory, basic reporting and customer management features. Each additional register costs $29 per month.

  • The Basic plan costs $69 per month (billed annually) or $79 per month (billed monthly). It doesn't include e-commerce, accounting, loyalty or analytics features.

  • The Starter plan costs $99 per month (billed annually) or $119 per month (billed monthly). This plan includes the e-commerce module, allowing you to take your store online.

  • The Standard plan costs $119 per month (billed annually) or $139 per month (billed monthly). In addition to the e-commerce module, it comes with an accounting integration so you can connect your accounting software to your POS system.

  • The Advanced plan costs $169 per month (billed annually) or $189 per month (billed monthly). It comes with everything in the Standard plan plus the loyalty module.

  • The Pro plan costs $229 per month (billed annually) or $259 per month (billed monthly). In addition to the features in the Advanced plan, it has an analytics module to give you deeper insight into your sales data.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS

This version of Lightspeed's POS system supports an unlimited number of users and includes table-side ordering, customer management, standard reporting and access to Lightspeed's integration library.

  • Pricing starts at $59 per month (billed annually) or $69 per month (billed monthly) and supports one register. Each additional register costs $34 per month.
  • Pricing for add-ons starts at $12 per month; options include a customer-facing display, a kitchen display system, a self-order table menu and advanced reporting.

  • Premium add-ons start at $39 per month; options include accounting integration, a self-order kiosk, delivery integration and a loyalty program.

Key takeawayKey takeaway: Lightspeed Retail POS ranges from $69 to $259 per month, and Lightspeed Restaurant POS starts at $59 per month. Add-ons run from $12 to $39 per month.

Payment Processing

Lightspeed Retail customers in the U.S. now have access to Lightspeed Payments, 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. The fee for cards accepted in person using a card reader is 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction, and the fee for manual transactions is 2.6% + 30 cents per transaction. Customers can use other payment processors, but the options are limited compared with competitors' selections. Payment processor options include Cayan (now a TSYS company) and Worldpay from FIS (formerly Vantiv). 

Did you KnowDid you know? Lightspeed provides access to its own payment processing service, which charges 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction for cards accepted in person and 2.6% + 30 cents per transaction for manually keyed-in cards and online transactions. You can also work with Cayan or Worldpay instead.

POS Hardware

Lightspeed Retail POS works with any iPad or a web browser on any computer or mobile device. If you use an iPad as your POS terminal, it is fully mobile, which means you can complete customer transactions from anywhere in the store. Or, you can pair it with a stand to make it a stationary POS terminal. The iPad can also be set up as the customer-facing display.

Lightspeed supports third-party POS hardware, which you can buy from Lightspeed either separately or as a bundled package. The POS vendor lists the makes and models it supports on its website. If you already own POS hardware, check with Lightspeed to see if it's compatible. Lightspeed is also an authorized Apple reseller, which means you can purchase the iPads from Lightspeed as well.

TipTIP: Lightspeed works with any iPad or web browser and supports third-party POS hardware, allowing you to shop around or purchase from Lightspeed.

Lightspeed Features

We chose Lightspeed as the best POS system for retailers because it offers so much more than a way to ring up sales. In addition to all the must-haves, including inventory management and advanced reporting, the focus on e-commerce stands out. For example, the SEO tools help drive more business to your online shop. As a bonus, Lightspeed updates its software regularly.

Lightspeed has a user-friendly dashboard.

Inventory Management

Inventory management is a key component of running a store, and Lightspeed makes it easy. The software lets customers track inventory, create product variations and bundle items. You can create purchase orders, manage vendors and, if you have multiple stores, track and purchase inventory for all locations.

Lightspeed lets you easily add new products.
  • Retail inventory features. It's very easy to add new products to the Lightspeed system, thanks to the 3,000-plus preloaded catalogs with more than 14 million items. You can upload items in bulk, up to 10,000 stock keeping units at a time. You can also set up alerts for when stock is low and reorder directly from the system. If you are using Lightspeed's e-commerce feature, you can track inventory from your physical and online stores from the same dashboard.

  • Restaurant inventory features. Lightspeed's inventory tools are equally robust for the restaurant version of the POS. You can track and manage inventory down to the ingredient level and set alerts for when stock gets low. The software also reports food costs and profit margins so you can gauge the profitability of different menu items.

Customer Management

Lightspeed has a robust set of built-in customer relationship management tools that let you create customer profiles, add notes about their preferences and run reports on their sales. You can view purchase histories, assign VIP status to certain customers, and offer rewards and promotions.

Lightspeed helps you track customer information and purchases.

Loyalty Programs

Retail business owners know loyal customers are the most lucrative ones, so they welcome ways to keep customers coming back. Lightspeed allows shop owners to integrate customer sales data with loyalty tools to send targeted offers and deals. Through the loyalty program, businesses can do the following:

  • Build customer rewards 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 gives you flexibility in controlling user access. You can choose between role-based control, in which employees are assigned specific permissions, 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 that allow you to see employees' hours and run performance reports to view their sales, profit and, for restaurants, tips.

E-commerce

E-commerce has taken off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many physical stores have moved online. POS system vendors have been adding more e-commerce services to meet that need. Lightspeed is a standout in this area. The company's e-commerce tools enable businesses to easily build an online store, with more than 50 professional themes to choose from. Retailers can show off their products in high definition, choose from several mobile-responsive and customizable templates, enable customers to shop 24/7, and offer online ordering and in-person pickup.

Reporting

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

  • 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 a fee, you can add Lightspeed Analytics, which gives an advanced view of stock, customer experience and staff performance. 

Lightspeed provides a clear look at your overall performance.

Integrations

Lightspeed offers more than 250 integrations through its app store, enabling you to connect to credit card processors, accounting software (e.g., QuickBooks, Xero and Sage), analytics programs, marketing services and more. There are 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.

Did you KnowDid you know? With Lightspeed, you can track inventory, manage employees and customers, run advanced reports, integrate with third-party apps, sell online, and manage loyalty programs.

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 cost of the total system. However, the POS system does work with third-party hardware, including devices you may already own. The company posts a full list of compatible models, so you can shop around for the best value.

Another potential drawback is the dearth of payment processing options, although the compatible providers are top-notch. This means you may have to drop your preferred processor unless you use the POS software alongside your payment system instead of integrating with it, which adds extra steps to the checkout process.

Key takeawayKey takeaway: Lightspeed doesn't provide POS hardware pricing on its website, which makes it more difficult to shop for a total system. Lightspeed also integrates with fewer payment processors than many rivals.

Customer Support

Lightspeed is a mobile-friendly platform that is easy to use on the go. It offers several online resources for small business owners to learn about the product, like industry-specific tools, guides, webinars, demos, videos and a customer forum. For more education and one-on-one help, users can access onboarding or 24/7 customer support via phone, email and chat. Although Lightspeed is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, it does have an A- rating.

TipTip: Lightspeed offers online resources, as well as phone, email and chat support.

Ready to choose a POS system? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Image Credit: DERO2084n / Getty Images
Lightspeed

Lightspeed

The Verdict

Lightspeed is the best mobile POS system because it's fully mobile with solutions for stores, restaurants and online businesses. It has month-to-month contracts available, gives you a choice of processors, and works with third-party POS equipment.

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Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
Business News Daily Staff
Skye Schooley is a staff writer at business.com and Business News Daily, where she has written more than 200 articles on B2B-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and business technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products that help business owners launch and grow their business, Skye writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.