Developed 5 years ago, Lightspeed Retail is currently used by more than 50,000 businesses. It targets mid-sized and larger scale independent businesses and is able to cope with the demands of practically any retailer. It is offering a host of integrations that can keep your business on the cutting edge.
- Excellent register functionality
- Good work order management
- Onboarding help provided
- Strong eCommerce platform
- Robust reporting features
There are several different Lightspeed POS products – OnSite (software that is installed on desktop Mac computers), Lightspeed eCommerce, Restaurant, and Retail.
This review is of Lightspeed Retail.
Recently, the company altered its pricing options slightly. The most popular plan for $99 a month is still available, and comes with a year-long commitment, featuring all of the basics.
The company asks customers to call for a quote and ask about the features. Earlier, add-ons didn’t come cheap and could hike up the overall price of the system fast.
Now, there seem to be some more options if you need things like advanced reporting or eCommerce, making a system that was rather expensive more cost-effective.
The basic package:
- 1 register
- Access for up to 5 employees
- $99/mo (billed annually)
- Personalized onboarding
- Secure cloud backup
- Free updates
- Basic reporting
- 24/7 support
Retail also has a 14-day trial you can use to check out the software for yourself.
Lightspeed has updated in the past few years quickly and now offers its own eCommerce platform, thanks to which you can set up and run your own store online. The interface is highly intuitive and quick and customers will appreciate the degree of customization that is available.
A few complaints have been made about Lightspeed’s refusal to eliminate minor bugs in its software, which is surprising given the company’s attention to staying on the cutting edge of trends in the POS world.
Lightspeed may still not be the most cost-effective system on the market, but it has all the features you could imagine. For those looking for good customer support and a one-stop-shopping system, this is a great choice.
Cloud-Based vs. Locally-Installed
Lightspeed Retail is a hybrid system, although it is technically cloud-based, which means data is stored on Lightspeed’s servers and synced over the cloud to your platform. You don’t have to install any programs on your computer because Retail is browser-based.
You can install the Retail POS app on your iOS device. In this case, Lightspeed offers most of the benefits of a locally-installed system without the need for large, expensive hardware or on-site software update issues.
Any enterprise size will probably work well with Lightspeed Retail, though the target market appears to be companies that require custom elements and added flexibility or medium-sized enterprises.
The software is appealing to even the biggest retailers thanks to its wealth of features, with functions to support every part of the retail cycle, from selling to ordering and purchasing to stocking as well as extensive staff management and CRM capabilities.
Companies, for which cost is not a major issue might like Lightspeed for its wide array of add-ons and integrations. The system also features a sleek design and regular updates.
If you’re looking for standard features like deep analytics reporting, solid inventory management, and marketing campaign management, as well as the ability to give customers a somewhat more intimate experience and highly customize the software, this POS should be top choice.
Lightspeed Retail is not industry specific – it is adaptable to practically any type of retail industry. It also offers features for selling physical items and services. The software is useful in a variety of settings with the ability to create quotes and estimates, service and repair orders, and define labor costs.
LR is really outstanding in the apparel industry but can meet the needs of virtually any type of retail environment (especially if you have opted for one of the more advanced packages). The scope of register functionality offered really makes this software stand out. This is not readily available with similar POS system providers.
LR offers a desktop POS hardware kit featuring a Lightspeed scanner, an APG cash drawer, a USB receipt printer, and receipt paper. The computer itself is not included. The second bundle is the iPad POS Hardware Kit with a Vault Simplicity Base iPad stand, an APG cash drawer, a Bluetooth socket scanner, receipt paper, and a LAN receipt printer. The iPad itself is not included.
You can buy a peripheral separately if you don’t need a whole bundle. Turn to customer service representatives if you have hardware issues.
This POS system makes efforts to ensure customers understand what they are getting and know best how to use it. A customer success representative will help you set up your store and give you instructions about how to use the system after you’ve purchased it. Both the front- and backend of the software are extremely intuitive.
The initial setup involves a step-by-step process which includes a catalog of products retailers can use to populate their inventory. It is completed in the in-browser software (though you can manage it from your POS).
The management area is organized in a basic, yet superb manner. The creators have grouped all of the functions into categories on the left-hand side. The most visible options are those most commonly used. Lots of POS dashboards hide the most important functions.
Users can begin, continue, or refund a sale with reasonable ease, set a customer display for when they are not at the register, and create special orders.
The system can accept all payment types: credit, cash, check, debit, store credit, and gift card. Store credit is accepted either from established house credit accounts or exchanges. Gift cards and certificates also have a barcode for ease of use and can be reused by changing their balance.
Discounts are applied through the register, and you can hold and pause sales and return to them later or switch to another device. Items can be placed on layaway for customers to pick up at a later date. You can add new and existing customers to a sale directly through the POS interface easily. It’s also easy to perform returns and exchanges.
The POS system makes it possible to transfer inventory between locations and offers full visibility of all inventory from warehouses and stores. You can check to see if another store has the product a client wants.
It’s almost impossible to get anything wrong on the interface. Screen navigation is simple and easy to master with brief training. There are great capabilities of inventory customization, customer tracking, and reporting options, which inevitably lends the software a certain level of complexity.
Processing reporting, for example, is fairly hard, with dozens of compiled reports to choose from. Most POS back-end systems are naturally a bit complicated and anyone with a bit of management experience should be able to learn the ropes quickly.
Integrations and Add-Ons
All pricing tiers include integration with MailChimp, while additional third-party integrations are available as add-ons. Lightspeed Retail integrates with a massive number of companies and chances are Lightspeed will have any feature you’ve heard about. The Add-Ons page includes the following applications and services:
Rental: Integrations with Rental Shop Manager and Bike Rental Manager are offered for retailers needing to rent equipment.
Scheduling: Use Agendrix, NimbleSchedule, Chronogolf, Booxi, or Homebase to track and schedule employee hours online. This allows staff to trade shifts, request time off, and clock in or out from anywhere.
Inventory Management: Stitch Labs, iMerchandise, Nobal Technologies, or SkuVault can handle your inventory management needs.
Email Marketing: Lightspeed offers Mailsync for purposes of email marketing.
Their eCommerce platform is a nice addition to the belt of POS systems. It is a stand-alone, fully functional, integrated, and exclusively online POS system.
Lightspeed Retail’s accounting program can integrate with QuickBooks for Windows, QuickBooks Online, and Xero.
Compatible Credit Card Processors
Lightspeed Retail integrates with Cayan, Vantiv Integrated Payments (Mercury), and iZettle. It was also one of the few companies who became EMV-compliant with a certified terminal by October 1, 2015 as required by law.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Lightspeed Retail’s hordes of satisfied customers are pleased with the ease of use, customer service, quick setup, and diverse features among other benefits.
Ease Of Use
A common thread found throughout most positive comments involves how easy Lightspeed Retail is to use and train staff on.
A lot of users are very satisfied with the quality and level of customer service they receive from Lightspeed Retail. Short wait times and helpful, kind representatives are among the benefits.
Many customers were very happy with the personalized set-up process and found it simple to train their staff even with respect to some of the more complicated aspects of the product.
Strong Feature Set
Many happy users appreciate the fact that the company offers such a large and diverse set of features. They really like the highly customizable, unlimited inventory feature, as well as the matrix feature that makes it possible to organize items with multiple variations.
Premium technical support is part of the service since Retail is priced with a subscription model. The kinds of support available are as follows:
- Phone support is available 24/7 (excluding holidays)
- Support page with links to resources
- Release notes
- System status page
- Training videos
Representatives can be contacted via chat from virtually any page on the Lightspeed site from 11 am to 8 pm EST. If no one is available, just leave a message with your email address.
Many users love the choices and the variety of integrations available, especially those who operate smaller businesses.
Nobody is perfect, and some users are displeased. Some of the most common complaints involve unresolved glitches, ignored customer requests, excessive abundance of features, and the rather lengthy commitment mandated (a whole year). Here is some more info about these aspects.
Some customers have complained about bugs in the system. Those users report being frustrated when no action seems to come from the developers. On the plus side, they are happy with the responses from Lightspeed’s customer service regarding their complaints.
Ignored Customer Requests
Some people complain that user feature reports and requests regarding system glitches have gone unaddressed in many cases and over long periods of time. Some users report that they would like to see the company get better at fixing and maintaining its existing functions and features before working on adding new functionality and advancement.
Too Advanced Features
A few customers found some of Lightspeed’s offerings to be a bit overwhelming and hard to grasp. For instance, there’s too much to try out on the backend. A few reviewers mention that some of those advanced features lagged from time to time.
Finally, a few reviewers have complained about being stuck in the contract with Lightspeed. Contracts cannot be terminated even if one is unhappy with the services.
We recommend taking the time to make sure Lightspeed works for you and your company before signing a contract, as with any system that requires you to sign one.
Our Last Word on Lightspeed Retail
Lightspeed is one of the most solid, easiest to use solutions on the POS market today. It should be at the top of your list if pricing isn’t a major consideration and you’re looking for a system that will possibly have every option you could imagine in a POS in both the backend and front-end.
We also like the fact that the company has made a commitment to offer users the latest in POS advances with its consistent updates.
This POS alleviates stress with strong customer service and training to get you onboard. We believe getting it is a decision you won’t regret!