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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.
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.
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.
$79 per month plus $29 per additional register per month with Lightspeed Payments (when billed monthly).
$139 per month plus $29 per additional register per month with Lightspeed Payments (when billed monthly).
Lean plan capabilities plus:
$239 per month plus $29 per additional register per month with Lightspeed Payments(when billed monthly).
Standard plan capabilities plus:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.