What is Lightspeed?
Lightspeed is a dynamic company offering a packaged cloud-based point of sale system and a very clear view of its target industries. Their products are designed specifically for restaurants and hospitality, retail and ecommerce, and golf courses and clubhouses. Lightspeed’s client focus is so laser-sharp that their website clearly states the industries they don’t serve, namely the Powersports, Marine, or Recreational Vehicles Industries. Now that’s knowing your business segment!
The company was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada, but is rapidly growing, with offices in 18 other cities throughout North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. They’ve been on the acquisition trail in the past four years, having recently acquired several businesses to bolster their product offerings in electronic payment processing, ecommerce solutions, loyalty programs, and retail systems. They’ve also entered a direct partnership with short-form video hosting service TikTok to enable direct selling through that platform. In short, Lightspeed is in serious expansion mode.
Lightspeed supplies a broad range of retail products with a platform-agnostic retail point of sale (POS) system and peripheral hardware such as scanners, printers, and registers. The ecommerce product accepts online payments and offers stock management, an appointment booking system, loyalty programs, and shipping support while linking to your accounting system. Hospitality support includes those retail solutions while adding delivery and contactless online ordering systems and a front-of-house management system for easily modified restaurant table layouts. Kitchen inventory management is made easy with ingredient management and spoilage tracking. The company also offers over 250 integrations with partner-company products in 19 categories.
In 2019, Lightspeed acquired the Montreal-based Chronogolf, which offers facilities management systems for golf course operators. The purchase provided a perfect symmetry to Lightspeed’s business, as golf course management requires a mix of retail, ecommerce, and restaurant services. Lightspeed’s golf management solution provides a cloud-based tee sheet and golf course management system, inventory management, clubhouse restaurant, and snack bar management, and Pro Shop retail and ecommerce support.
What popular features do you get with Lightspeed?
- Accounting integration
- Complete POS Hardware
- Contactless ordering
- Customer relationship management
- eCommerce solution
- Golf course management
- Inventory management
- Kitchen management
- Loyalty programs
- Online delivery support
- Payment processing
- Preloaded product catalogs
- Seating management
- Shipping support
- Sophisticated retail analytics
Customer Support is available at Lightspeed
Lightspeed has done a good job in providing a comprehensive and nicely segmented customer support system. There are pages of clear self-help advice on each product offering, with product videos to better understand your system. If that doesn’t solve your problem, you can choose between accessing community forums, having an on-screen live chat, sending an email, or receiving telephone support.
English language support is available 24/7, and French, Flemish, and Dutch language support is available within the hours specified on the contact page. As a nice touch, Lightspeed even offers a screen-sharing tool for when you’re talking to one of their support agents. A bonus is the free resources that Lightspeed provides for each market segment served, offering tools, tips, and expert advice.
What kind of business is Lightspeed ideal for?
Lightspeed has a scalable, modular, and comprehensive POS system that suits established small and medium-sized businesses, high-volume merchants, and big business. Given the pricing structure and the suite of sophisticated offerings, it’s probably less suited to a new retail or ecommerce startup. Yet, it’s ideal for an operating small business that may not be tech-savvy but wants to be, as you’ll get comprehensive support with one-on-one onboarding, free training, and a dedicated account manager.
Pros and Cons
- Feature-rich, all-encompassing retail solutions at a reasonable price
- Pay-as-you go option with no lock-in contracts
- A considerable library of free tools to assist all aspects of retail, hospitality, and golf course management
- A broad range of hardware and software options to suit your business
- Real-time inventory management
- Accounts system integration
- Comprehensive customer support and self-help program
- Extensive reporting capabilities
- Lightspeed does not advertise its POS hardware pricing
- The pricing better suits an established business than a new retail startup
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- À la carte integration options
- Highly customizable
- Offers third-party processors
- Money-back guarantee
- No interchange rate markup
- Free virtual terminal
- Demo and free trials
- Easy integration with third party systems
- Cheaper hardware options
How much does Lightspeed cost?
*based on information provided by the vendor. Actual cost may vary.
Lightspeed offers a comprehensive range of pricing and plans, which they publish online for the retail and hospitality industries. To begin with, you can take advantage of their 14-day free trial. From there, retail clients can choose between monthly pay-as-you-go options or annual contracts, while hospitality clients are offered monthly plans. We understand the company will also offer further discounts for longer contract terms.
Those in golf course management are asked to provide some basic details to receive a free personalized quote, given the variability of the businesses. Similarly, enterprise clients are asked to get in contact for a tailored pricing schedule
- Lean plan starts at $79 monthly*
- Standard plan starts at $139 monthly*
- Advance plan starts at $239 monthly*
- You need to call to get a quote for Enterprise plan
- $50 will be added monthly to above plans if you need to use your own payment gateway instead of a Lightspeed one.
- Essentials plan starts at $39 monthly*
- Plus plan starts at $119 monthly*
- Pro plan starts at $289 monthly*
- You need to call to get a quote for Enterprise plan
Integrated payment processing fees is 2.6% + 10 cents per transaction
*Monthly fee for a 12-month contract
Lightspeed has become recognized as a heavyweight in the point of sale industry, offering a comprehensive suite of products with impressive features. Their acquisitions are cleverly chosen to expand their services to clients. The purchase of Vend added strength to their retail software, Gastrofix to their POS hospitality offerings, while Ewcid and Shopkeep boosted their cloud commerce platform. Lightspeed has nicely integrated these products into its suite of services and offers a professional and extensive service to clients while investing heavily in customer support. This company appears soberly managed, stable, and highly focused on servicing its target markets.