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Updated Sep 22, 2023

Lightspeed Review

author image
Jamie Johnson, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst

Table of Contents

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Editors Score:9.4/10

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

Plus Sign Pros
  • Lightspeed allows you to track inventory across multiple store locations.
  • The platform integrates with hundreds of apps so you can create a customized solution for your business.
  • The company provides free onboarding and 24/7 customer support, regardless of which plan you choose.
Minus Sign 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.
  • Lightspeed is our pick for the best POS system for retail businesses because of its hardware and software options and advanced inventory features.
  • Lightspeed offers affordable POS pricing plans; you can pay monthly or sign up for an annual subscription.
  • Lightspeed’s acquisition of ShopKeep makes it an excellent option for brick-and-mortar retailers looking to add an e-commerce option.
  • This review is for business owners interested in why we chose Lightspeed as the best POS system for retail businesses.

Lightspeed is a point-of-sale (POS) provider serving the retail, restaurant and golf industries with a wide variety of pricing plans, subscriptions and loyalty tools. Its cloud-based iPad POS system is particularly suited to retail businesses because of its advanced inventory management features. Additionally, Lightspeed Restaurant is a great option for bars, cafes and full-service restaurants. And over 1,200 golf courses worldwide use Lightspeed’s software thanks to its easy-to-use tee sheet. 

Lightspeed Editor's Rating:

9.4 / 10

Affordable pricing
9/10
Free trial
9.5/10
Robust integrations
9/10
Invoicing and bill pay
8/10
Mobile app
8.5/10

Why Lightspeed Is Best for Retail Businesses

We chose Lightspeed as the best POS for retail businesses because its hardware and software options give retailers everything they need to streamline operations. We were impressed by Lightspeed’s advanced POS inventory management features, which retailers will find indispensable, particularly when managing multiple business locations, suppliers and channels. 

Additionally, you can use Lightspeed to track your inventory and reorder items that are running low. You can also view custom reports to see how your business is performing and identify new opportunities. You’ll gain advanced insights into your customers and how you can better serve them – a must for retailers. 

Lightspeed restocking info

Lightspeed helps retailers order stock easily and quickly if items are running low. Source: Lightspeed

TipTip

If you run a brick-and-mortar store and want to start selling online, consider Lightspeed E-Commerce. This platform integrates seamlessly with Lightspeed Retail to help you build a website and sell products on social media.

Usability

We appreciate that Lightspeed is designed with retail businesses in mind and offers many retail-specific features. The POS system works for businesses of all sizes and has an intuitive interface and many customization options. We also like that businesses can use the free mobile app for iOS or Android to access information from anywhere.

Lightspeed’s third-party integrations impressed us, allowing businesses to extend the platform’s functionality. The software integrates with hundreds of popular third-party apps to help you run your business. And we were also pleased that the company enhances usability by providing one-on-one onboarding, a dedicated account manager, and 24/7 customer support. 

Lightspeed Features

Inventory management

Lightspeed makes it easy to track your inventory, create product variations and bundle items.

Customer management

Use Lightspeed to collect data about your customers and create customer profiles.

Loyalty programs

Create custom loyalty programs for online and offline sales.

Employee management

The POS system makes it easier to monitor the number of hours your employees work and run performance reports.

E-commerce tools

Use the company’s e-commerce tools to build an online store and set up online ordering.

Reporting

Lightspeed can create dozens of custom reports and track your sales data in real time.

Integrations

You can integrate Lightspeed with more than 250 apps.

Inventory Management

As POS systems change and evolve beyond processing sales, features like inventory management help businesses connect various aspects of their ecosystems. We found Lightspeed’s inventory management features impressive, giving business owners the crucial tools needed to run a retail store. With Lightspeed, you can track inventory, create product variations and bundle items. You can also create purchase orders, manage vendors and track inventory across multiple locations – a critical feature many competitors don’t offer. 

Lightspeed inventory tracking

Retailers can use Lightspeed to track inventory across multiple store locations. Source: Lightspeed

Did You Know?Did you know

Lightspeed’s advanced inventory management features are a key POS system benefit that sets the company apart from competitors.

Customer Management

We like that Lightspeed is a CRM-enabled POS system that lets you create customer profiles, add notes about preferences and run sales reports based on CRM metrics. The company offers other helpful POS tools, including viewing purchase histories, assigning VIP status to specific customers, and offering rewards and promotions. 

TipTip

If you’re in the market for customer relationship management (CRM) software, check out our reviews of the best CRM software to evaluate pricing, features, and integrations.

Loyalty Programs

We were impressed that Lightspeed helps retailers integrate customer sales data with loyalty tools to send targeted offers and deals. You can do several essential things with this feature, including the following:

  • 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

We found Lightspeed’s employee management tools to be on par with those of its competitors. It gives retailers flexibility when controlling user access, which is crucial because poor access management can lead to data breaches. You can choose between role-based control and customized permissions for each user. 

With customized permissions, you decide the tasks and data you want each user or role-based user group to access. The 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.

E-commerce

E-commerce is becoming ubiquitous, as many physical stores are either moving online or adding an online element to their business. We appreciate that Lightspeed can help businesses start an e-commerce venture with the following features:

  • 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
Key TakeawayKey takeaway

If you sell online, you must comply with online business laws and specific rules regarding e-commerce sales tax compliance.

Lightspeed online store

Lightspeed can help you set up an online store quickly with easy-to-use, professional themes. Source: Lightspeed

Reporting

We were impressed that Lightspeed’s retail POS lets you run more than 50 built-in POS reports and track everything in real time. Lightspeed’s reporting capabilities include the following:

  • POS 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.

Lightspeed performance reporting

Lightspeed’s performance reports track inventory levels in real time. Source: Lightspeed

Integrations

Lightspeed offers more than 250 integrations through its app store – more than many competitors we reviewed – allowing you to create a customized solution for your business. You can integrate Lightspeed’s POS system with the best credit card processors, the best accounting software and top marketing platforms. 

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

Did You Know?Did you know

Lightspeed features QuickBooks POS integration and integrates with many other accounting software solutions.

Lightspeed Pricing

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

Here’s a breakdown of POS plan costs and payment processing fees. 

POS Plan Costs

We like that you can pay monthly or sign up for an annual subscription when you choose Lightspeed. Many competitors don’t offer this kind of payment flexibility. Lightspeed’s monthly plan is a good option for businesses that want to try out the software. However, you’ll get the best deal if you sign up for the annual package.

Note that Lightspeed’s published pricing refers to businesses with one location. If you run a business with multiple retail locations, you must contact a sales rep for a custom quote.

Lightspeed’s four tiers are as follows (each comes with one register and integrated payments): 

  • Lean: The Lean plan costs $69 per month when you pay annually. This plan includes one register, integrated payments and a dedicated account manager. 
  • Standard: The Standard plan costs $119 per month when you pay annually. This plan has an accounting integration to connect your accounting software to your POS system. It also includes an advanced e-commerce platform to set up an online store. 
  • Advanced: The Advanced plan costs $199 per month when you pay annually. This plan includes a loyalty and analytics platform to provide deeper insights into your sales data and reward customers accordingly.
  • Enterprise: The Enterprise plan is a customized option for high-volume merchants. You must contact the company to receive a quote. 

Lightspeed pricing plans

Lightspeed offers four pricing plans, but you must contact the vendor for a custom quote if you need additional hardware. Source: Lightspeed

Payment Processing Fees

When you sign up as a Lightspeed customer, you must choose between Lightspeed Retail and Lightspeed Restaurant software. Regardless of your chosen solution, you can access Lightspeed Payments, the company’s payment processing service. We like that Lightspeed Payments has flat-rate pricing with no additional fees – another reason Lightspeed is our pick for the best POS system for retail businesses.

The fee for accepting credit cards in person is 2.6 percent + $0.10 per transaction. The fee for card-not-present transactions is 2.6 percent + $0.30 per transaction. Customers can also choose from one of Lightspeed’s payment processing partners.

Setup

We were pleased that Lightspeed provides customers with one-on-one onboarding and setup assistance. Setting up your POS system is fairly easy, and a customer service representative is always available to help.

After signup, you’ll book a complimentary onboarding session with a Lightspeed team member. During this hourlong 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, we like that Lightspeed offers 24/7 customer support. The company also provides many helpful online resources, including industry-specific tools, guides, videos and a customer forum. 

Lightspeed online help

Lightspeed’s product-specific online help centers provide extensive information. Source: Lightspeed

Drawbacks

While we appreciate that Lightspeed’s website is transparent about its software pricing, it doesn’t provide POS hardware pricing. This makes it harder to gauge the system’s actual cost and know whether it truly fits 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 you can shop around for the best value.

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

TipTip

While Lightspeed offers great options for retail businesses and food establishments, if you’re looking for a restaurant-focused POS system, check out our review of TouchBistro and our Toast review.

Methodology

When researching the best POS systems for retailers specifically, we examined inventory and customer management tools, loyalty programs, e-commerce options, custom report features, and more. We compared Lightspeed to over a dozen POS system competitors to evaluate and rate its strengths and weaknesses in various areas. Our research gave us a good sense of where Lightspeed shines and where it could improve.  

Lightspeed FAQ

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

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.

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.
author image
Jamie Johnson, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
For more than five years, Jamie Johnson has been guiding business owners on financial matters both big and small. This includes investment advice, insights on business loans and funding options, recommendations on insurance and more. Johnson excels at delivering easy-to-understand direction so entrepreneurs can make the best financial decisions for their businesses and, as a solopreneur herself, she regularly tests business strategies and services. Johnson's expertise can be found in a variety of finance publications, including InvestorPlace, Credit Karma, Insurify and Rocket Mortgage. She has also demonstrated a deep understanding of other B2B topics — including sales, payroll, marketing and social media — for the likes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, USA Today and Business Insider.
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