Lightspeed review – A good choice for payment processing? Features, fees, pros and cons explained

Updated on 5 July 2023

As businesses across the globe continue to evolve towards digitisation, payment processing has become a focal point of consideration. Choosing the right service provider can greatly impact your business operations and customer experience. Today, this review explores Lightspeed – a major player in this field – assessing its offerings, costs, pros and cons, and examining how it stacks up against other providers.

 
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Overview of Lightspeed – what’s on offer?

Lightspeed, a leading payment processing and point of sale (POS) solutions provider, offers an integrated suite of services designed to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses across a variety of sectors. With a firm footing in the hospitality and retail industry, Lightspeed aims to streamline operations, improve customer interactions, and boost sales.

Their services include a comprehensive POS system, inventory management, e-commerce solutions, data analytics, and customer relationship management (CRM). Additionally, Lightspeed provides hardware tailored to specific business types, ensuring seamless integration with their software services.

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Lightspeed’s POS system is known for its robustness, accommodating high-volume businesses and allowing for the management of multiple locations from one platform. The inventory management tool is comprehensive, allowing for product variations, bundles, and serialised inventory.

The e-commerce solutions enable businesses to create an online presence, offering integrations with popular platforms like Shopify. Furthermore, the CRM capabilities allow for detailed customer profiling, targeted marketing, and feedback management.

Through their advanced data analytics, businesses can track sales, performance, and customer habits, providing valuable insights to drive business decisions and optimise profits. To top it off, they offer 24/7 customer support, a valuable lifeline for businesses that operate outside of typical working hours.

Pros and cons of Lightspeed

Pros:

  • Holistic Solution: Lightspeed provides an all-in-one platform that integrates POS, inventory management, e-commerce, data analytics, and CRM. This eliminates the need for multiple service providers, reducing complexity and costs.
  • Scalability: It is built to cater to the needs of both small businesses and larger, multi-location entities, offering a platform that can scale with business growth.
  • User-friendly Interface: The system is known for its intuitive design, making it easy for staff to learn and use, reducing training time.
  • 24/7 Support: With round-the-clock customer service, businesses can resolve issues promptly, minimising downtime.
  • Data Analytics: Lightspeed offers sophisticated reporting tools that give businesses valuable insights into their operations and customer behaviours.

Cons:

  • Cost: Lightspeed’s comprehensive features come at a cost, which can be a barrier for smaller businesses or startups.
  • Limitations in Customisation: Although their system is robust, some users have noted limitations in customisation options.
  • Integration Challenges: While Lightspeed offers integrations with popular platforms, some users have reported difficulties in setting up and managing these connections.
  • Contractual Commitment: Unlike some competitors, Lightspeed often requires a minimum one-year commitment, reducing flexibility for businesses.

Lightspeed products and services guide

Lightspeed offers a range of products tailored to different industries.

Lightspeed Retail

Aimed at brick-and-mortar retailers, this product includes robust POS software, inventory management, a multi-store capacity, e-commerce integration, customer profiling, and detailed analytics.

Lightspeed Restaurant

Designed for the hospitality sector, this product offers a versatile POS system, menu management, floor planning, customer tabs and delivery integration. It also supports loyalty programs and provides insightful analytics.

Lightspeed Golf

A specialised offering for golf courses, it includes features such as tee-sheet management, pro-shop POS, inventory control, member billing, and food and beverage management.

Lightspeed eCom

This product enables retailers to launch an online store with ease. It includes inventory synchronisation with physical stores, SEO tools, and a wide range of design templates.

Lightspeed Loyalty

An add-on service that helps businesses create customised loyalty programs, email marketing campaigns, and customer insights.

Lightspeed pricing, fees and charges explained

Lightspeed’s pricing model is subscription-based, with different plans based on the chosen product suite. For Lightspeed Retail and Restaurant, the basic plan starts at £59 per month, per location. The pricing increases with additional modules, and add-ons like Loyalty and eCom have separate charges. Hardware is not included in these prices, and costs can vary based on business requirements.

Processing fees for payments are negotiated separately and can vary based on the volume of transactions. While this can be a potential downside, the company states it offers competitive rates.

Alternatives to Lightspeed

While Lightspeed offers comprehensive solutions, businesses should also consider alternatives. Square and Shopify are popular choices, offering similar integrated platforms at competitive prices. They offer more flexible contracts, and Square, in particular, stands out for its no-cost entry-level POS system.

Zettle is another contender, particularly popular for its flat-rate transaction fee model, a feature favoured by smaller businesses. Vend, on the other hand, is highly praised for its superior customisation abilities.

Conclusion – Is Lightspeed a good choice?

Lightspeed presents a powerful suite of services tailored to different industries, particularly beneficial for medium to large scale businesses. It offers an all-in-one platform that can simplify operations and offer valuable insights to help drive growth. However, its pricing and contract commitments may be a hurdle for smaller businesses or startups.

If your business has the budget and is looking for a comprehensive, scalable solution, Lightspeed is certainly worth considering. However, for businesses seeking more flexibility or cost-effectiveness, exploring alternatives like Square, Shopify or iZettle may be more suitable.

FAQ – Lightspeed review

What is Lightspeed?

Lightspeed is a company that provides payment processing, point of sale (POS) solutions, and other business services such as inventory management, e-commerce, data analytics, and customer relationship management.

Who is Lightspeed ideal for?

Lightspeed is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses in the retail, hospitality, and golf course industries that require a comprehensive, integrated solution.

How much does Lightspeed cost?

Lightspeed’s pricing starts at £59 per month, per location for the basic plan. Costs increase with additional modules and add-ons.

Does Lightspeed require a long-term contract?

Yes, Lightspeed often requires a minimum one-year commitment.

Does Lightspeed provide customer support?

Yes, Lightspeed provides 24/7 customer support.

What are some alternatives to Lightspeed?

Alternatives to Lightspeed include Square, Shopify, iZettle, and Vend.

What industries does Lightspeed cater to?

Lightspeed caters to a variety of industries, including retail, hospitality, and golf courses.

Does Lightspeed offer e-commerce solutions?

Yes, Lightspeed offers e-commerce solutions, including the ability to integrate with platforms like Shopify.

Does Lightspeed offer hardware?

Yes, Lightspeed offers hardware tailored to specific business types, which is sold separately.

Can I manage multiple locations with Lightspeed?

Yes, Lightspeed’s system allows for the management of multiple locations from one platform.

What is Lightspeed’s data analytics capability like?

Lightspeed offers advanced data analytics, allowing businesses to track sales, performance, and customer habits.

What are the benefits of using Lightspeed?

Lightspeed offers an all-in-one platform that integrates various services, a user-friendly interface, scalability, and 24/7 support.

What are the downsides of using Lightspeed?

Some cons include higher cost compared to some competitors, limitations in customisation, integration challenges, and long-term contractual commitments.

Can I create a loyalty program with Lightspeed?

Yes, Lightspeed offers a separate add-on service for creating customised loyalty programs.

What is Lightspeed Retail?

Lightspeed Retail is a product suite designed for brick-and-mortar retailers, including a POS system, inventory management, and e-commerce integration.

What is Lightspeed Restaurant?

Lightspeed Restaurant is a product suite designed for the hospitality industry, featuring a POS system, menu management, floor planning, and more.

What is Lightspeed eCom?

Lightspeed eCom is a product that helps businesses launch an online store, synchronise inventory with physical stores, and utilise SEO tools.

What is Lightspeed Golf?

Lightspeed Golf is a product suite tailored for golf courses, offering features like tee-sheet management, pro-shop POS, and food and beverage management.

Are there any hidden fees with Lightspeed?

While Lightspeed’s subscription fees are transparent, processing fees for payments are negotiated separately and can vary based on the volume of transactions.

Is Lightspeed’s platform easy to use?

Yes, Lightspeed is known for its user-friendly and intuitive design.

Reviewed by , Managing Director

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