Lightspeed works very well as a point-of-sale system but you may face some headaches when setting it up and during regular use.
Very good customer service
Regular updates and new features
UI needs improvement
Occasional software bugs
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Lightspeed is a Canadian point of sale (POS) and e-commerce software vendor. The company was founded in 2005 to provide POS systems to online and physical retailers and has grown rapidly since its launch. In 2014, it began providing payment solutions for the hospitality industry.
Lightspeed’s operations are divided into four main divisions; Retail, eCommerce, OnSite, and Restaurant. The company currently serves over 160,000 customers and processed tens of billions of dollars worth of transactions last year. It brought in over $600 million in net revenue in the same period.
In 2021, Lightspeed changed its formal name from Lightspeed POS, Inc to Lightspeed Commerce Inc. This name change reflected its strategic shift from point-of-sale systems to broader online and brick-and-mortar commerce tools. The company is headquartered in Montreal, Canada.
We've written all about how to choose the right POS system for your business, and 9 inspiring ideas on how to use POS system customer data to help you get the most from your point of sale solution.
Lightspeed POS: Plans and pricing
Lightspeed offers different pricing for its point-of-sale systems to physical retailers and restaurants. Besides, it’s unlike other systems where you pay one-time for the hardware. Lightspeed requires an ongoing monthly subscription if you want to use its POS system, and you’ll have access to the software as long as you renew your monthly subscription.
There are four plans both for retailers and restaurants:
Lean: $89 per month. This plan gives you access to the POS software and an integrated payments processing solution.
Standard: $149 per month. Everything in the Lean plan plus software tools for accounting and setting up an online store.
Advanced: $269 per month. Everything in the Standard plan plus advanced reporting & analytics tools and loyalty plans for customers.
Enterprise: Custom pricing (contact the sales team for a quote). You can get personalized consultation services, an assigned customer support staff, and negotiate your transaction fees.
Essentials: $69 per month. A customizable POS system, menu manager, floor plan manager, advanced reporting, integrated payments, and several other features that make running a restaurant easier.
Plus: $189 per month. Everything in the Essentials plan plus an online ordering system, order at pay and table system, contactless payments, cloud-based monitoring, and multi-location management.
Pro: $399 per month. Everything in the Plus plan plus raw API access to customize the payments experience.
Enterprise: Custom pricing (contact sales team). A personalized hardware and software system, unlimited consultation services, and a dedicated support team.
The fee for processing payments is a separate 2.6% + 10¢ for every successful card transaction.
Lightspeed POS: Features
Lightspeed does not have its own special hardware system, unlike many other POS vendors. You can use it with an iPad or buy POS hardware from Verifone; e285, P400, or 400m. You'll also need to buy other individual accessories such as a receipt printer, cash drawer, and barcode scanner. For convenience, Lightspeed offers a hardware kit that includes an iPad stand, kitchen printer, receipt printer, and cash drawer; you just need an existing iPad.
Using an iPad or off-the-shelf POS hardware saves significant costs, unlike many other POS providers that require you to buy or rent their specialized hardware that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. You can even use hardware from different brands, while Lightspeed focuses on providing point-of-sale software.
Lightspeed offers its own solution that enables you to receive payments from customers' cards. There’s no setup fee and the system is easy to set up. Once it’s up and running, you’re free to accept payments from all major debit and credit cards. The pricing is simple; 2.6% + 10¢ for every successful transaction.
Depending on your plan, you can get access to other tools that help you manage and report sales. For example, you can integrate the payment system with your accounting software to automatically record every sale instead of doing that manually. You can also monitor your sales reports in real time from any device (as long as you have the correct login details).
If you run a restaurant, you can set the POS system to split bills among groups and allow each individual to pay at different times. You can set the prices of items beforehand and just select the items that the customer chooses to automatically calculate the price. These extra features make Lightspeed an ideal POS solution for retailers and restaurants.
Some pricing plans also give you access to Lightspeed’s tools for setting up an online store. You can create a professional online store, add inventory, and collect payments from customers with ease. You can even connect your website to social media platforms and other online marketplaces to get sales.
Lightspeed POS: Interface and use
Lightspeed offers a lot of good features, but one of the major complaints we observed is that the platform has a clunky interface. Truly, Lightspeed isn’t as user-friendly as many other POS software vendors, owing in part to having many features that you might find difficult to navigate. However, it’s not impossible to adapt and become used to the platform.
Lightspeed POS: Support
Lightspeed offers customer support through email, telephone, and live chat. The company has different telephone support lines depending on the country you’re calling from. Email response is quick (under 24 hours) and so is live chat. Customers often praise Lightspeed for having stellar customer support.
Lightspeed POS: The competition
Stripe and Clover are two popular competitors with Lightspeed’s POS system. Unlike Lightspeed, Stripe lets you purchase hardware one-time and you don’t pay any recurring subscription fees. Its transaction fees are slightly more expensive; 2.7% + 5 cents.
Clover requires a monthly subscription fee just like Lightspeed. But, you can get much lower transaction fees (2.4% + $0.10) depending on the plan you pick.
Lightspeed POS: Final verdict
Lightspeed is a good point-of-sale system that we’ll recommend to every retailer or hospitality business. It is easy to set up and makes accepting payments as easy as possible. However, beware of some slight drawbacks such as a clunky interface.
Stefan has always been a lover of tech. He graduated with an MSc in geological engineering but soon discovered he had a knack for writing instead. So he decided to combine his newfound and life-long passions to become a technology writer. As a freelance content writer, Stefan can break down complex technological topics, making them easily digestible for the lay audience.