Lightspeed Retail POS Review 2022: Features, Pricing and Alternatives

With excellent features, integrations and customer service, Lightspeed Retail is a good match for larger small businesses.
Dec 16, 2021

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Lightspeed Retail, a point-of-sale system for brick-and-mortar retailers, provides both the software and hardware a business owner needs to run transactions. Its inventory management capabilities are excellent, letting business owners track items across multiple locations, add product variations and use integrated vendor catalogues to order inventory. The system is cloud-hosted and browser-based, meaning your information is stored on the company's servers and transferred to your platform via the cloud.

The product is a good match for more established small businesses, such as chain clothing stores and other shops with at least a few locations. Newer small businesses with less complicated operations could be better served with a simpler, less expensive product.

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Deciding factors

  • Software cost: $79 per month plus $29 per additional register per month and up (when billed monthly).

  • Hardware cost: Quote-based.

  • Payment processing cost: 2.6% plus 10 cents per card-present transaction with Lightspeed Payments; can also choose from third-party payment processors.

  • Contract length: Annual contracts required for lower pricing.

  • Live support: Excellent. Available 24/7.

  • Ease of use: Excellent. Lightspeed Retail has an intuitive user interface and clean layout.

Pricing

If you’re not going to use Lightspeed Payments for payment processing, monthly subscription prices are significantly steeper. For example, the Lean plan is $109 per month without Lightspeed Payments versus $79 per month with it, when billed monthly. For those operating more than one store location, Lightspeed recommends reaching out for a personalized quote.

Software

Plan

Pricing

Features

Lean

$79 per month plus $29 per additional register per month with Lightspeed Payments (when billed monthly).

  • One-on-one onboarding.

  • Free training for you and your employees.

  • Dedicated account manager.

  • Lightspeed Payments.

Standard

$139 per month plus $29 per additional register per month with Lightspeed Payments (when billed monthly).

Lean plan capabilities plus:

  • Lightspeed Accounting.

  • E-commerce platform.

Advanced

$239 per month plus $29 per additional register per month with Lightspeed Payments(when billed monthly).

Standard plan capabilities plus:

  • Omnichannel Loyalty for syncing marketing campaigns and customers’ rewards programs online and in-store.

  • Analytics Core for in-depth reporting.

Hardware

Lightspeed Retail’s hardware pricing is quote-based. Businesses can choose between an iPad hardware kit or a desktop hardware kit, both of which come with a receipt printer, cash drawer and scanner. Note that iPads and desktops must be purchased separately. The company also sells individual hardware items like label printers, contactless card readers, iPad stands and a Verifone payment terminal.

Payment processing

Lightspeed Payments comes with free PCI compliance and fraud prevention, and funds will arrive in your business bank account within two business days. There is a $15 chargeback fee. When you sign up, a Lightspeed representative will work directly with you to set up your new payment processor, and you’ll get 24/7 support thereafter. The company provides quote-based rates for businesses processing more than $250,000 per year.

  • Tapped, inserted and swiped rate: 2.6% plus 10 cents per transaction.

  • Keyed-in rate: 2.6% plus 30 cents per transaction.

If you don’t want to use Lightspeed as your payment processor, the system also integrates with a variety of other options, including Cayan and Worldpay (formerly Vantiv).

Features

Employees with iPads can bring the POS to the customer to complete checkout from anywhere in the store. Refunds can be performed without using the customer’s credit card, and Lightspeed Retail can accept other forms of tender, including checks, gift cards and cash.

Import your product catalog into Lightspeed Retail by uploading a CSV or Excel file. Once your catalog is uploaded, you can categorize items by style, size and color, and create as many custom fields as you want. Each item can also receive its own unique serial number for stock-keeping purposes. Perhaps most importantly, the company allows you to upload vendor catalogs and order new stock directly from your POS. Transferring stock between stores is possible too.

The POS system has a bunch of features that help you foster stronger relationships with your customers. Stores can add new customers to the CRM database and build out their profiles, add notes and save payment information with their permission. The CRM database also lets you view customer sales history to help determine purchasing habits, and assign customer “types” (VIP, employee, etc.) to automate special discounts. Finally, businesses can use the POS system to create loyalty programs so customers are awarded points each time they shop.

Lightspeed Retail features a basic time clock for employees, allowing them to punch in and out via a PIN number you assign them. The POS also keeps a log of employee sales and performance. Additionally, you can assign custom roles to your staff, giving them unique back-end permissions. For onboarding new employees, it offers a series of webinars to help users get acclimated with the interface and functions of the POS.

With more than 40 report templates, merchants can analyze data on sales, inventory, staff performance, marketing effectiveness and more. The system integrates with popular accounting platforms like QuickBooks, Sage and Xero to help with bookkeeping too.

Merchants can use Lightspeed Loyalty to offer customers redeemable points on purchases they make. You can also automate text and email marketing campaigns and group customers together based on their buying habits. Lightspeed Loyalty comes with the Advanced plan, and business owners with the Lean or Standard plan can bundle it into their subscription for an additional cost.

For those who operate a brick-and-mortar store and an e-commerce website, Lightspeed lets you manage both from the same POS. With its e-commerce platform, you’ll be able to upload your products and design your own website using one of over 50 customizable templates. Once your site is live you can streamline sales and inventory data across all physical and digital locations. Lightspeed’s e-commerce platform comes with the Standard and Advanced plans. Clients with the Lean plan can bundle it into their subscription as an add-on.

Pros

Robust inventory management

Lightspeed Retail’s inventory management features offer an impressive level of functionality that lets business owners customize how they keep track of items. Unlike some competitors, this platform allows you to manage multiple locations, send notifications when it’s time to reorder an item and add customized fields for categorizing inventory. You can also create a purchase order for a single vendor or a master order for multiple vendors in the platform.

Customer service

Lightspeed offers exceptional customer service for all plan tiers. It includes a free onboarding session, 24/7 phone support, Monday-Friday chat support, guides and webinars. This type of support doesn’t come standard with all POS systems, and the fact that clients are matched with a dedicated account manager can help you get in touch with the right person sooner.

Integrations

Lightspeed Retail allows you to extend the functionality of your POS via a wide variety of applications available in the Lightspeed app marketplace. These include accounting, e-commerce, payment processing, CRM, reporting, marketing, invoicing and payroll integrations among others.

Cons

Price

The price you pay for Lightspeed Retail is tied to the fact that you have a broad range of features at your disposal. However, if you own a new small business, having all those extra bells and whistles probably isn’t necessary. In that case, you might be better off trying free or cheaper options from competitors like Square.

Annual contracts required for lower pricing

Monthly subscriptions to Lightspeed Retail are less expensive if you pay annually versus monthly. For example, the Standard plan ends up costing $119 per month if you choose the annual plan versus $139 per month with the monthly plan. A handful of reviews also complain about year-long and multi-year contracts.

Reviews

  • G2: 4 stars out of 5.

  • TrustRadius: 7.3 stars out of 10.

  • TrustPilot: 4.2 stars out of 5.

  • Capterra: 4.2 stars out of 5.

Most user sentiment toward Lightspeed Retail is positive, with people focusing on ease of use and high level of functionality. Negative comments mentioned general bugs with the system, expensive add-ons and long hold times.

Lightspeed Retail alternatives

Square for Retail

Square for Retail charges similar processing fees as Lightspeed Retail and offers free and paid plans. The Plus plan costs $60 per month per location, and includes a handful of features you won't find in the Free plan, like advanced inventory management tools, advanced reporting capabilities and Square Team Management. Loyalty programs are available as an add-on starting at $45 per month. For more information, see NerdWallet's review of Square for Retail.

Square Retail POS

Square
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on Square's website

Shopify for Retail

If you like Lightspeed Retail because of its integration with your e-commerce store, consider Shopify for Retail. Starting at $29 per month, you’ll get a Shopify e-commerce store and 24/7 support. The Basic plan is meant for businesses that do most of their sales online. Businesses that do in-store and online sales might consider the company’s $79 per month plan, which also includes lower processing rates. For more information, see NerdWallet's review of Shopify.

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A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.