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Lightspeed Review

By
Lori Fairbanks
,
business.com writer
|
Jan 06, 2020
Image Credit: DERO2084 / Getty Images
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Lightspeed point-of-sale (POS) software is used at more than 51,000 business locations in more than 100 countries. The company has offices in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, Belgium, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The system has versions for retail businesses and restaurants, and an e-commerce add-on is available for retailers that operate both in person and online. Though this iPad POS system is designed primarily for small and midsize businesses, the company offers custom plans for enterprise-level organizations as well. 

Lightspeed

Lightspeed

The Best POS Systems of 2020

The Verdict

Lightspeed has powerful features to help you track and reorder supplies, including preloaded catalogs for retail stores and ingredient-level tracking for restaurants. It's our pick as the best POS system for inventory management.

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Visit our best picks page to see all of our recommendations for POS systems. 

Lightspeed has powerful features to help you track and reorder supplies, including preloaded catalogs for retail stores and ingredient-level tracking for restaurants. For this, it's our pick as the best POS system for inventory management. 

We selected Lightspeed as the best POS system for inventory management because both the retail and restaurant versions of its software have robust inventory features, including nicer ones like purchase ordering, preloaded catalogs for quick inventory creation on the retail version and ingredient-level tracking on the restaurant version. It also has the flexibility we look for in a POS system, with options for subscription length, compatibility with third-party hardware and a choice of integrated payment processors. 

Lightspeed Pricing and Terms

Lightspeed provides an overview of its software pricing on its website. All of its plans are cloud-hosted, and there are no setup or installation fees. If you need something different from the published plan – for instance, if you need to add an extra register or more employees to the retail plan, you can contact the company for a customized plan. Pricing for its POS hardware is not posted online. 

POS Software

Lightspeed gives you the option of month-to-month service, though you can opt for annual or multiyear subscriptions if you prefer lower pricing to the flexibility of not being locked into a long-term contract. The pricing posted on its website is based on an annual plan for a single location. If you prefer a shorter or longer term, have multiple locations, or need a customized plan, you'll need to speak with a sales rep to get a quote specific to your business's needs. 

Lightspeed offers a demo and a 14-day free trial, and you should plan to use both before signing up for a subscription to make sure the software meets your needs. This is particularly important if you choose the annual or multiyear subscriptions, since you'll be locked into the service for an extended period. All plans include onboarding and 24/7 support. Here are more details on Lightspeed's POS software prices. 

Lightspeed Retail

Three pricing plans are available for this software version. The company's most popular plan for retailers is the Small plan, which starts at $99 per month, based on an annual plan. It supports one register (iPad), up to five employees and includes basic reporting. For details on its medium and large plans, you'll need to call the company to speak with a sales rep. 

  • The Small plan costs $99 per month.
  • The Medium plan costs $169 per month.
  • The Large plan costs $289 per month. 

Lightspeed Restaurant

Three pricing plans are available for this version of Lightspeed's POS software. All plans support an unlimited number of users, and include tableside ordering, customer management, standard reporting and access to Lightspeed's integration library. 

  • The Small plan costs $69 per month and supports one register.
  • The Medium plan costs $129 per month and supports up to three registers.
  • The Large plan costs $198 per month and supports up to five registers.
  • The kiosk module costs $59 per month and can be added to Lightspeed Restaurant. With it, customers can place their own orders and pay for them using an iPad. 

Lightspeed eCom

The company's most popular plan starts at $59 per month, based on an annual plan. It supports one user and 250 products, and it includes SEO and a return-management system for your e-commerce store. You can add this plan to your Retail subscription if you sell both in-store and online. 

Lightspeed Loyalty

You have the option of adding a customer loyalty program to your Lightspeed POS system. It includes email and SMS text notifications, preset smart customer groups and integrated marketing tools. The company also offers a branded loyalty app, though you'll need to speak with a sales rep for pricing. 

  • The retail version of Lightspeed Loyalty costs $59 per month, based on an annual plan.
  • The restaurant version's most popular plan starts at $49 per month, based on an annual plan. 

POS Hardware

You can run Lightspeed Retail as an app on any type of iPad or from a web browser on any device, such as a laptop or desktop computer. If you use an iPad as your POS terminal, you can use it as a fully mobile device and check out customers from anywhere in the store, or pair it with a stand to use as a countertop POS station. You can also set up an iPad as a display so your customers to see and verify their orders as you enter them into the system. 

For Lightspeed Restaurant, you can run the front end of the software on iPads, iPods, and iPhones, allowing your servers to take orders and payments or tableside. Or, like the Retail version, you can pair an iPad with a stand to use as a countertop POS station. To access the back end of the software, you can use any device with a web browser. 

Like other top POS systems, Lightspeed works with third-party POS hardware and posts the makes and models it supports on its website. You can purchase hardware from Lightspeed, either bundled or piece by piece, or use the list to comparison shop. If you already own POS equipment but don't see your items on the website, you can contact the company to check for compatibility. If you need to buy iPads or Mac computers, you can also purchase them from Lightspeed, as it's an authorized Apple reseller. 

Features

All versions of Lightspeed's POS software are full-featured, giving you a broad selection of tools to help you run your business efficiently. The company regularly updates all versions of its software. 

Inventory Management

Inventory management tools are built into Lightspeed's iPad POS system, allowing you to track inventory, create product variations and bundle items. It helps you manage your list of vendors and create purchase orders. If you have multiple outlets, you can track and purchase inventory for all locations, and transfer items from one location to another. 

  • Retail inventory features. Lightspeed's retail POS software has more than 3,000 preloaded catalogs with more than 14 million items, making it easy to add new products to your system. If you're transferring your product data from another system, you can import them in bulk using a CSV or Excel spreadsheet. You can set up the system to send you low-stock alerts and reorder items directly from the system. If you also sell products online using Lightspeed eCom, you can manage inventory for both your brick-and-mortar and online stores from the same platform. 
  • Restaurant inventory features. The POS software tracks inventory with ingredient-level detail, helping you keep ample supplies on hand for the menu items you create from scratch. You can assign ingredients to the products, and the system reports your product stock levels to help you reorder wisely. It also reports food costs and profit margins to show you how much each dish costs to make, making it easy for you to see if you have a healthy margin on menu items or if you need to adjust your pricing. You can add vendor contact information to each menu item to make it easier to reorder supplies. You can also add a barcode, which means you can enter supplies you receive into the system with a barcode scanner rather than manually. If you want to get an alert when your inventory runs low, you can add this feature through one of the system's third-party integrations. 

Reporting

All Lightspeed POS subscriptions come with reporting tools, including a daily dashboard, employee performance reports and product reports. You can view your sales per hour on the dashboard, and the product sales report shows you your top-selling and most profitable items. If you need to export report data to another program, you can download it in the CSV format. You can add the Advanced Reporting module to your plan for an additional monthly fee. 

Customer Management

Lightspeed has built-in customer relationship management tools that let you create customer profiles and add notes about their preferences. On the retail POS software, you can view purchase histories, assign VIP status to your regulars, and offer customers discount and promo codes. The restaurant POS software lets you create tabs, track visits and payment histories, and see a customer's reservation. The Lightspeed Loyalty module is available for an additional monthly fee, and can be added to both the retail and restaurant versions of this POS software. 

Employee Management

Lightspeed has role-based user access. Its preconfigured roles make it easy to get started, and you can customize them, create new roles or set custom permissions for each individual, giving you the ability to control exactly which tasks and data you want each user or role-based group of users to access. 

This POS system has a built-in timeclock, so your employees can clock in and out using the POS system. You can see your employees' hours and run performance reports to see their sales, profit and, for restaurants, tips. 

Integrations

Lightspeed's App Store offers more than 250 integrations. Dozens of apps are available for both the retail and restaurant versions of Lightspeed's POS software, allowing you to connect to payment processors, accounting software (including QuickBooks, Xero, and Sage), analytics programs, marketing services, and other business programs. Lightspeed eCom also has numerous apps that you can use to extend its capabilities, such as chat programs and social media channels. An API is available for Lightspeed Retail, but access to the restaurant API is limited to Lightspeed partners. 

Retail-Specific Features

Lightspeed Retail supports product variants, such as color, size, and style, and you can bundle multiple items together to sell as a package or kit. You can also process work orders, which may be a useful feature for stores that provide repair services, and place special orders for customers. 

It has tools that you can use to automate discounts and change prices in bulk, saving you the time it would take to update them one at a time. You can also create coupons, run promotions and giveaways, and offer donations. 

Restaurant-Specific Features

Lightspeed Restaurant has table and reservation management features to help you optimize available seating, a self-order menu app you can use with iPads so customers can place their own orders from kiosks or from tables, and catering and delivery tools to help manage the takeout side of your restaurant. If you want customers to be able to order online, you can add this option to the system using a third-party integration. 

You can use the floor plan to see which tables are open and which are ready to pay so you can let waiting customers know that a table will be available shortly. When your servers are taking orders, they can arrange dishes into courses to ensure menu items are brought out in the correct order. When it's time to pay, servers can split and group bills, and even divide an item, such as a shared appetizer, between customers. 

Additional Considerations

Lightspeed now offers its own payment processing service, called Lightspeed Payments, which is available for Lightspeed Retail in the U.S. (and will soon be offered in other regions as well). It has flat-rate pricing with no additional fees. Here's what it costs to use it: 

  • Cards accepted in person using a card reader: 2.6% + 10 cents
  • Manually keyed-in cards and online transactions: 2.6% + 30 cents 

Even though Lightspeed has in-house processing, it still gives you the option of working with Cayan (now a TSYS company) and Worldpay from FIS (formerly Vantiv). Even though your processor options are limited, and this is a smaller selection than most companies offer, you can still call for pricing quotes and choose the one that's the best deal. 

Lightspeed's customer support team is available 24/7 by phone or email, and tech support agents can remotely resolve software-based issues. The company can help you set up the system or migrate your data as well. If you prefer to troubleshoot problems yourself, the company's website has a searchable knowledgebase with step-by-step directions, video tutorials, blogs, whitepapers and webinars. You can also sign up to join its community forum. 

Drawbacks

Although Lightspeed posts some pricing information on its website, it doesn't go into as much detail as its competitors. For instance, it only lists its starting plans for its retail and e-commerce software. It doesn't provide pricing for its month-to-month plans, nor does it reveal pricing for add-on modules, such as Advanced Reporting and Lightspeed Analytics or for its POS hardware. 

While it does offer in-house processing and two integrated credit card processing options, that is a lot fewer than most of what its competitors offer. This means you may not be able to continue using your preferred processor unless you choose to use the POS software alongside your payments system instead of integrating with it, which adds extra steps to the checkout process.

Lightspeed

Lightspeed

The Best POS Systems of 2020

The Verdict

Lightspeed has powerful features to help you track and reorder supplies, including preloaded catalogs for retail stores and ingredient-level tracking for restaurants. It's our pick as the best POS system for inventory management.

visit site
Lori Fairbanks
Lori Fairbanks
Lori Fairbanks has years of experience writing and editing for both print and online publications. After graduating from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, she worked as a magazine editor and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies, including marketing firms and a medical university. She now writes for business.com and Business News Daily about financial systems and services for small businesses, such as accounting software, credit card processing and point-of-sale systems.