View offers at Lightspeed here
Lightspeed is a Canadian company that offers point of sale solutions for retail and restaurant businesses, as well as delivering custom e-commerce solutions for the last 15 years or so. While it does have off-the-shelf packages to choose from on its website the POS provider is most appealing in the fact that it can tailor individual systems to suit certain businesses, even during the coronavirus crisis.
That ultimately means you get a more personalized and bespoke technical setup. Equally, it also requires you to spend time talking to the company about how best to configure it. Therefore, Lightspeed POS might not be for the smaller business but it has the potential to be a real boon for any ventures that are really going places. Competitor products include AirPOS, Shopify, EposNow and Square POS.
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- Want to try Lightspeed? Check out the website here
Naturally, Lightspeed has a website that makes it seem pretty simple to pick one of their POS systems to support your business. The company divides its packages down the middle, with either retail or restaurant options to choose from.
However, dip into these two choices and you’ll find that there’s a little more to getting set up with a Lightspeed POS system than meets the eye. That’s not a bad thing mind, as Lightspeed POS packages can be carefully tailored to meet the needs of individual businesses.
Therefore, for restaurant focused POS the price currently starts at $59 / £59 per month, but you’ll need to speak to them in order to get a more personalized price.
Retail pricing follows a similar theme, which currently equates to these monthly baseline charges: Basic $69 /£69, Starter $99 / £99, Standard $119, Advanced $169 / £129 and Pro $229 / £199. You can make savings by paying annually rather than monthly and bear in mind there will be other incidental charges due to the more custom approach of Lightspeed.
A Lightspeed tailored POS solution will come configured with everything you need to either get your business up and running, or transform it into a leaner more efficient venture. Naturally, Lightspeed supports all payment types, including cash, credit and debit cards, checks, gift cards and store credit variants too.
Building out and managing your stock inventory is a core feature on the retail front and that’s covered suitably well by the Lightspeed system. In fact, Lightspeed offers such a full-service range of features for both its retail and restaurant POS systems that you really need to see their website for the full breakdown. It’s extensive to say the least.
Lightspeed has invested a lot of time in having some very decent Mac-based kit available to help you get the best from its systems. There’s an iPad POS hardware option for example, with a PG cash drawer. Indeed, all of the Lightspeed software has been engineered to run on either Apple’s iOS for its tablet POS system or Mac OS for its desktop POS system.
As a result, you get the distinct feeling that businesses who favour the Apple route for day-to-day working will find much to make them feel at home within the Lightspeed environment. And, if you’ve got employees who like the slick way Apple ticks then they might be happier using Lightspeed over Microsoft Windows or Google Android-based systems, which aren't currently available from the company.
Ease of use
As with any POS system, setting it up initially is where most work will be needed and Lightspeed has staff on hand to help guide you through this process. That begins with the initial consultation, which helps you to define exactly what you need for your business.
From there, Lightspeed will implement the hardware setup needed on site while you’ll be able to get yourself and your staff familiarized with the in-browser software systems. Due to Lightspeed being a more bespoke design, this might be more challenging than some basic off-the-shelf solutions. But the tradeoff for getting to grips with the more complex technology is you’ll have a much more potent POS at your disposal.
Support is plentiful once you’re signed up with Lightspeed and forms part of the package that comes with having an account with them. Along with a customer help center within the website, which incidentally is divided into different core sections depending on what package you run, there is also 24/7 support available.
Lightspeed also has a cool blog area within its site too, which adds another interesting dimension to how and why its products and services are used. Combining these components together means that the support aspect of Lightspeed seems to be of a very good standard indeed.
Lightspeed has a lot going for it, assuming you’re happy with only being able to run it on Mac-based hardware. If you are then Lightspeed can be used in all manner of different ways, with retail and restaurant being the core focus of the POS solution.
Personalized packages can help you squeeze more out of the system and you’ll find that Lightspeed packs in lots of reporting and analytics to further beef up the key features of the various options it offers.
If you’re running a business that has outgrown its existing POS solution, or if you’re looking for something that employees will be able to master with ease, then likely Lightspeed will tick many of the right boxes. It’s not cheapest out there, but it does have a lot to offer.