The bottom line:
Pros & Cons
- Built-in POS system and payment processing; in-house POS hardware available.
- Generate unlimited barcode labels.
- One-on-one onboarding and a dedicated account manager included with all plans.
- Lowest-tier plan doesn’t include e-commerce features.
- Longer-term contract required.
- Inventory management. You can import your product catalog into Lightspeed Retail by uploading a CSV file. Once your catalog is uploaded, you can categorize items by size, color and more, and assign unique serial numbers for stock-keeping purposes. You can upload vendor catalogs and order new stock directly from your POS. Transferring stock between stores is possible too.
- Customer relationship management (CRM). Stores can add new customers to the CRM database and build out their profiles, add notes and save information. The database lets you view customer sales history to help determine purchasing habits, and assign customer “types” (VIP, employee, etc.) to automate special discounts. Businesses can create loyalty programs so customers are awarded points each time they shop.
- Employee management. Lightspeed Retail features a basic time clock for employees — allowing them to punch in and out via a PIN number — as well as a log of employee sales and performance. You can assign custom roles to your staff, giving them unique back-end permissions. For onboarding new employees, there's a series of webinars to help users get acclimated with the interface and functions of the POS.
- Loyalty program. Merchants can use Lightspeed Loyalty to offer customers redeemable points on purchases. You can automate 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.
- E-commerce. If you operate a brick-and-mortar store and also create an e-commerce website, Lightspeed lets you manage both from the same place. You can upload your products and design your own website using 30 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.
Lightspeed Retail POS is best for businesses that:
- Are well-established and have multiple locations. Newer small businesses with less complicated operations could be better served with a simpler, less expensive product.
- Prefer an all-in-one POS system provider and payment processor. If you don’t use Lightspeed Payments for payment processing, monthly subscription prices are significantly steeper; plus Lightspeed will charge you an additional per-transaction fee on top of your chosen payment processor’s fees.
- Will make use of Lightspeed’s POS capabilities and features. The monthly fees are some of the highest among its competitors, but Lightspeed’s long list of relevant retail features and competitive payment processing rates can make it a worthy investment, particularly for more firmly established retailers.
Payment processing model
Payment processing fees
Pricing for Lightspeed's iPad and desktop hardware kits is quote-based. Individual hardware products are listed in Lightspeed's online store:
Annual contracts required for lower pricing.
24/7 phone, chat and email support; one-on-one onboarding.
Where Lightspeed Retail stands out
Robust inventory management
Where Lightspeed Retail falls short
Annual contracts required for lower pricing
Alternatives to Lightspeed Retail
Square for Retail
- $0 for Square POS, Restaurant, Retail and Appointments Free plans.
- $29 for Square Appointments Plus plan.
- $60 for Square Restaurant and Retail Plus plans.
- $69 for Square Appointments Premium plan.
- 2.6% plus 10 cents (Free plan) or 2.5% plus 10 cents (Plus plan) for in-person transactions.
- 2.9% plus 30 cents for online transactions.
- 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually keyed transactions or card-on-file invoices.
- $0 for Square magstripe-only card reader ($10 for each additional reader) or if using Tap to Pay for iPhone (iPhone not included).
- $49 and up for Square Reader contactless and chip card reader.
- $149 for Square Stand iPad POS or Square Stand Mount (iPad not included).
- $299 for Square Terminal mobile card reader with built-in printer.
- $799 for Square Register two-screen system.
- $29 for Shopify Basic.
- $79 for regular Shopify.
- $299 for Shopify Advanced.
- $2,000 for Shopify Plus.
- $5 for Shopify POS Lite.
- $89 per location for Shopify POS Pro.
- 2.4%, 2.6% or 2.9% plus 30 cents for online payments for Advanced, Shopify or Basic plan, respectively.
- 2.4%, 2.5% or 2.7% for in-person payments for Advanced, Shopify or Basic plan, respectively.
- $49 for Chipper 2X BT card reader or Tap & Chip card reader.
- $219 for Retail Kit.
- $399 for Shopify POS Go mobile device.