Lightspeed HQ Ecommerce Review (Nov 2021): The Perfect Solution for Integrating with a POS

The Lightspeed platform consists of four products. The first one, Lightspeed OnSite is one that you install on your desktop, while the Lightspeed Restaurant platform is a POS for restaurants. The Lightspeed Retail system is utilized by retail companies, and it's all focused on the cloud. We'll talk a little about those, but the primary platform we're going to look at today is Lightspeed eCommerce, which is the solution they have for online stores.

The Lightspeed company is located in the UK, but they provide support for places like the US, Canada, Netherlands and Germany.

Lightspeed offers an interesting combination of tools for online companies, including a beautiful backend interface and a strong app/theme store. It's clear that Lightspeed has the user experience needed for beginners, but some more advanced developers may find it useful as well.

Keep reading to learn more about the Lightspeed Ecommerce platform, and look towards the end of this article for details on the POS and desktop versions.

Lightspeed Ecommerce Review: Pros and Cons

Lightspeed started life as a company offering retail POS system technology to companies. LightspeedHQ.com still offers these retail solutions in the form of Lightspeed retail. However, the company also has its own eCommerce solution now too.

The Lightspeed system for eCommerce works alongside the POS solution to help companies easily expand their business operations into the digital world. The user interface is incredibly intuitive and modern, with tons of customization options to choose from. However, there are a few bugs to work out too.

Pros 👍

  • Excellent variety of customization options
  • Brilliant integrations with other Lightspeed tools
  • Useful integrations with third-party applications
  • Convenient free trial option
  • Great back-end inventory management
  • Discount codes and vouchers
  • Easily import physical store stock to eCommerce in one click
  • Quick and easy mass updates
  • Mobile optimized themes
  • Lightspeed loyalty for customer loyalty
  • Streamlined returns and shipping
  • Shipping tracking codes
  • Cross-channel marketing with email and social media
  • Built-in tools for SEO and marketing
  • Global presence with multiple languages and currencies.

Cons 👎

  • Slightly more expensive than some eCommerce solutions
  • Some minor bugs in the software to work around
  • Lock-in contracts are difficult to get out of
  • Some learning curve for new users

Lightspeed Features: Inventory Management and Shipping

Lightspeed Ecommerce has had several exciting updates over the years, designed to make the platform more engaging and feature-rich for today’s business owners. Within the platform, companies can find everything they need to keep stock moving, and increase sales.

interface

Inventory Management

This thing puts all of your products in one location, and you can quickly import and export items that may have come from another commerce platform. The order processing system provides completely automated returns, making it much easier to handle customers who want to send something back.

The inventory management tools allow businesses to easily import tools from a physical store into an eCommerce environment with a single click. There are also discount code options for increasing conversions, and mass update features too.

Integrated Ecommerce Shipping

The hassle free shipping actually connects you to all of the shipping carriers throughout the world. This means that you don't have to think much about one of the worst parts of ecommerce. The one-click shipping labels ensure that you don't have to go to the post office, while your customers get their products a little faster.

What's more is that the shipping fees are automatically calculated for your customers, and tracking emails are sent to them without you having to do anything.

Viewing, editing, and organizing shipping processes is easy from a comprehensive back-office environment. You can also provide your customers with up-to-date reports on their package, thanks to shipment tracking codes.

Lightspeed also integrates with leading shipping tools like ShipStation and EasyPost.

Lightspeed Features for Customer Experience

There’s more to running a successful online business than learning how to manage your inventory and resources. Today’ss customers are looking for companies that know how to deliver the best possible experiences. That’s why Lightspeed Ecommerce comes with a selection of customer management tools.

Designed to help you connect with your customers on a deeper level, the Lightspeed customer experience features help companies to transform their websites into stores that consumers want to buy from. Aside from more than fifty professional themes that you can use to customize the checkout experience, you can also access a range of other UX tools.

For instance, business leaders can showcase their products in HD and deliver state-of-the-art navigation. There’s also the option to create checkouts that are specifically designed for mobile responsiveness. The better your checkout experience, the more likely you are to make a sale.

Sales, Promotions and Discounts

sale

Attracting more customers seems to be a big part of the Lightspeed interface, since they give you tools for setting up flash sales, BOGOs, discounts and more. Give away products for free, set up temporary discounts and implement free shipping whenever you want.

On top of sales and discount options, Lightspeed provides a range of tools to increase customer satisfaction. For instance, the Lightspeed loyalty service means that you can turn any regular customer into a loyal advocate. Lightspeed Loyalty comes with a targeted rewards program that includes a customer-facing app and point tracker.

There’s a marketing tool with the loyalty program to create automated emails and SMS campaigns. Plus, you get behind-the-scenes insights into customer spending habits with the Lightspeed dashboard. Aside from Lightspeed loyalty, there’s also easy returns and exchange processes, with the option for customers to start support tickets on their profile.

Companies can also improve their chances of customers checking out later with the option to add items to a Wishlist.

A Customizable Checkout

Sometimes you get stuck with a checkout module because of the platform you choose to go with. That's not the case with Lightspeed, since it lets you choose between multiple different checkout experiences.

The customizable checkout from Lightspeed takes easy sales to the next level. You can appeal to an international clientele by adding various currencies for your audience to choose from. Plus, there’s the option to integrate features like PayPal Express checkout for people in a hurry. The option to update your checkout however and whenever you choose makes it much easier to boost your chances of getting more lightspeed payments.

Once you set up your ideal checkout with Lightspeed, you can access your money quickly too. Because you choose how your checkout works, and which payment processors you use, you can ensure that you get your cash fast.

An A/B testing module is included for seeing which of the three works best for your particular company.

Access to Crucial Customer Data

As the perfect accompaniment to your point of sale software and retail POS, the lightspeed eCommerce service helps companies to make the most of their sales strategy online. As a convenient alternative to other tools like Shopify, Lightspeed promises access to all of the information that small businesses need to make sales.

You can track your online performance with weekly, daily, and monthly sales reports. Plus, you can keep track of customer support tickets and check whether your team is delivering the best solutions to your audience, through your site and your loyalty program. You can also fix mistakes with order status reports, and check whether your online store needs help with conversion reports.

Lightspeed helps small business owners to grow their brand and take more credit card payments with insightful analytics.

Features for Marketing and Growth

Aside from helping you to keep track of things like payment processing and pop-up checkout experiences, Lightspeed also assists companies in unlocking new forms of growth. If you want to take your retail business to the next level, then Lightspeed can help.

You can connect your account to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also link your online shop with your choice of the best pos system and cash drawer. Lightspeed offers its own point of sale system and POS hardware. You can even get a dedicated restaurant POS if you’re in the food business.

There are also in-built tools for things like search engine optimization with google, and email marketing. That means that you have more opportunities to attract customers, and nurture prospects into sales.

Multiple Languages, Currencies and Tax Support

Although you need the Advanced plan for international selling, once you get to that point it's easy to connect with customers who don't speak your language or use your currency. Taxes are calculated in the right currencies, and you can even live chat with users in their own language. All of this is translated for the perfect customer experience.

Lightspeed Ecommerce Integrations

We’ve already mentioned that Lightspeed Ecommerce has a host of internal integrations to offer. This Montreal based brand can support everything from Vantiv payment systems to your POS solution, and your loyalty program. The more extra features you want, the more you’ll need to pay, however.

As well as giving you the option to build out your business functionality with Lightspeed tools, the company also offers a range of integrations with third-party services too. For instance, you can combine your site with Mailchimp to launch excellent marketing campaigns. There’s also an integration with Order Alert for real-time notifications of all orders.

Lightspeed integrates with Channable for all-in-one order synchronization, feed management, and PPC solutions. Plus, you can use Inventory Alarm to increase your sales and prevent issues with “out-of-stock” situations.

The apps page for Lightspeed makes it easy to sort through a range of integrations to suit different needs. You can choose a category for your apps, and sort by things like price, relevance, or rating. Options include:

  • Sales tools: There are plenty of tools to help you convert more customers, such as Gift Up! Gift cards, and multisafepay payments for peace of mind.
  • Loyalty apps: Aside from Lightspeed’s own loyalty app, you can also integrate other options like Feedback and review apps, and dedicated rewards programs.
  • Accounting: Lightspeed integrates with a few different accounting tools like QuickBooks, to help you keep track of your money.
  • Payment processors: You can add products like PayPal Express to your Lightspeed website, to help customers check out faster.
  • VAT number validators: Tools for helping validate VAT numbers
  • Social media addons: So you can sell more through social media or ask your customers to share their purchases on their profile.
  • Dropshipping and shipping apps: Open the door to a variety of new business opportunities with shipping services and dropshipping tools.
  • Customer support: Live chat and sales ticket apps to improve customer experience. There are even apps that give you instant alerts whenever someone completes an order. That way, you can follow up with a thank you message automatically.

Remember, since Lightspeed is a dedicated POS provider as well as an ecommerce solution, you can also integrate your online business with offline tools. The Lightspeed POS means that you can turn any Mac or computer into a checkout counter when you’re taking your business offline. This makes it much easier for smaller businesses to take part in events, expos, and pop-up shop selling opportunities.

Lightspeed Pricing

The Lightspeed Ecommerce pricing plans might leave you a little confused at first. Unlike other ecommerce site building tools, Lightspeed doesn’t make its Ecommerce prices overly obvious. You can find a list of prices for on-site retail on the website. But there isn’t a dedicated section specifically for ecommerce.

Click on the Pricing tab on Lightspeed’s website, and you’ll see a range of prices that seem to include just the retail POS. However, if you scroll down, you’ll notice that some of the slightly more expensive platforms come with Lightspeed Ecommerce built-in.

Currently, we can’t find any option to purchase Lightspeed Ecommerce on its own without access to Lightspeed payments (for offline transactions) and Lightspeed Retail POS included. However, the Lightspeed website does recommend speaking to the team about your individual options. If you don’t want an offline pricing package, asking for a unique quote might help with this.

In the past, Lightspeed didn’t offer any option for customers that wanted to test the functionality of its Ecommerce service before spending cash. Now, you can start with a fourteen day free trial, before splashing out. That’s a great way to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth.

The available pricing plans that include Lightspeed Ecommerce today are:

  • Lightspeed Standard: $119 per month (annual payments), or $139 per month (paid monthly). This package includes Retail POS for your offline company, and Lightspeed Payments with a free terminal included. You also get Accounting features thrown in, and the option to integrate your existing accounting software (such as Quickbooks).
  • Lightspeed Advanced: $169 per month (annual payments), or $189 per month (paid monthly). This package is intended for companies seeing extra growth in their sales. It comes with everything you get from the Lightspeed standard package, as well as Lightspeed Loyalty. If you want Loyalty with your package and you don’t want Lightspeed POS, you’ll need to get a custom quote from the support team.
  • Lightspeed Pro: $229 per month (annual payments), or $259 per month (paid monthly). This is the most fully-featured pricing package from Lightspeed today. It comes with all of the features of Lightspeed Advanced, including the Loyalty rewards program. However, Pro also features its own advanced reporting and analytics service. This means that you can get a better insight into what’s happening behind the scenes in your company.

The prices for Lightspeed Ecommerce vary to suit different sizes and styles of business. If you’re running multiple locations, you’ll need to get a separate quote. Remember, you’ll pay less when choosing an annual plan compared to a monthly plan. Additionally, it’s worth noting that you can get a good deal on hardware if you buy your terminals and devices from Lightspeed too.

Lightspeed Support

lightspeed support

The Lightspeed team provides support through a blog and knowledge base. It's actually one of the best knowledge bases we've seen, with beautiful icons and headers for quickly gliding through topics like marketing, orders, settings and products. The company also has some social media outlets for you to reach out to them, and the phone lines are always open depending on the market you're working in.

What's more is that you can send in an email or create a support ticket whenever you want. Our favorite part is the live chat support, which is a form of help you won't necessarily find at competing ecommerce companies.

Lightspeed Ecommerce: Ease of Use and Hardware

There’s no dedicated hardware required for Lightspeed Ecommerce, as it’s a website building service. However, you do get a much better overall experience with Lightspeed POS and Ecommerce mixed together. If you’re running a business that sells online and offline, then your Ecommerce solution and POS hardware can work hand-in-hand.

Depending on your needs and your POS solution, Lightspeed can give you everything from a receipt printer and iPad sales system, to a cash drawer, Bluetooth scanner, and so much more. There’s even a desktop hardware kit for those who prefer to use a computer to a tablet.

Companies that need a combination of Lightspeed Ecommerce and retail can either get a bundle of hardware from the company or buy tools individually.

The fact that you can automatically update your Ecommerce store and inventory information with your POS and retail tools makes it much easier to keep track of things like inventory and stock levels. The in-depth integrations from Lightspeed are part of what makes the solution so easy to use.

Lightspeed also combines its excellent customer service and support strategy with FAQs that help you to answer any questions you might have more directly. If you have any concerns about which payment options are available, or how to make your Ecommerce site better, there are plenty of articles and resources to help you out. You don’t have to wait for the Lightspeed support people to be available.

Who Should be Using Lightspeed?

If you run a restaurant or retail store, the POS, cloud or desktop solutions may seem fitting for you. In terms of the ecommerce system, we like it for companies looking for a true omnichannel experience. For example, a brick and mortar store interested in integrating with an online store should consider Lightspeed. All of your sales and inventory are integrated, and you get some good deals for the entire combination. As for a standalone ecommerce solution, it's a wonderful system.

Lightspeed is a powerful tool for companies that want to take their revenue opportunities to the next level. With Lightspeed, business owners can quickly and easily connect their online and offline selling strategies. This means that your shopping cart never closes its doors to new customers.

Although it isn’t the best-known tool for inventory management and Ecommerce around, Lightspeed can make the lives of business owners a lot easier. You get an environment where you can access everything from marketing tools to shipping and reports in the same place. What’s more, when it comes to customer support, people often rave about Lightspeed’s excellent service.

If you have any questions about Lightspeed, let us know in the comments section below. We'd also like to hear from people who have experience with it in the past.

Lightspeed eCommerce
Rating: 5.0 - Review by

Catalin Zorzini

I'm a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.

Comments 6 Responses

  1. Lightspeed Retail is absolutely fantastic. I researched many companies for months before selecting Lightspeed for our company. I chose Lightspeed because of the robust system and customizable options as our company grows. The customer support is key. There is even a function built into the system that enables you to chat with live help during business hours, and they have excellent phone support. They will even take over your key board through the ‘Team Viewer’ app. Basically a support agent logs in and uses the pin you provide them after you have downloaded team viewer. They then have access to move your mouse and guide you through all the steps. Customer support is included in the price, and Lightspeed is very affordable. We had to select a system that would work with different locations that carry our product so that we could track the stock levels in the different retailers. I am so happy that we are now using Lightspeed. Basically, the system is for inventory tracking as well as tracking sales as well as all other point of sale functionality needed. It also has a great customer relationship tool. I add notes about customers so that I can remember key elements in the future. Lightspeed is now what houses our customer database. I use it constantly to look up products and keep everything uniform across our different spreadsheets. Once it is inputted into Lightspeed, we have an official product name and we use this product name in all invoicing, etc. The system is very fast and easy to learn. This is the best point of sale system available on the marketplace anywhere. There is also a separate log in for employees, if you choose to use it. I worked for a department store in their corporate office headquarters, and I was also a vendor with our product for the same department store chain. I had a front row seat to the very best and top of the line systems in retail. Lightspeed is head and shoulders above the fancy system we had for the entire department store chain. The key is support, easy functionality and user experience, and Lighspeed offers excellent customer support. I even had a Lighspeed customer relations employee call today to check in with how we are doing. It is the personalized service that makes Lightspeed such a brilliant company. Lightspeed is enabling out company to grow because at a glance we can see stock levels and what has sold so that we know what items to design more of. Because it is a cloud-based system, I can check it on my phone anywhere.

  2. As a software engineer, I’ve had to install, customize, create and use dozens of e-commerce platforms and within those, Lightspeed is by far the worst e-commerce platform I have ever used. It is full of major bugs and lacks features that even the most basic and cheap e-commerce solutions have. Reported (major) bugs take more than 6 months to even get looked at, and that is if they ever decide to fix them.

    Every month, they keep promising updates and fix that never happen, or even worse, they tell you that bugs are fixed when they are not.

    Lightspeed eCom is a very expensive scam, I recommend you stay away from it.

  3. So far, the overarching theme of our experiences with Lightspeed has been embarrassingly poor customer service. Their products are perennially unfinished and there seems to be a distinct lack of ability when it comes to actually creating functional software. We’ve been using various Lightspeed products for at least 8 years now, and none of them has ever been what I would call “fully functional.” Their retail solution OnSite continues to crash several times daily and has a tendency to mix up information. The credit system still only registers that a credit has been used about half the time.

    Recently they purchased an eCommerce CMS from a Dutch company and someone made the questionable decision to roll it out before they were actually able to figure out how it works. They have made it a mandatory upgrade for their current webstore customers, yet it somehow took over a month from when we started paying for the new service for someone at Lightspeed to actually respond to our emails and calls and actually create the webstore. Right off the bat, it didn’t support the payment integrations that the sales agent had told us it would support, and initially the payment processor that was integrated didn’t actually work at all, so we ended up paying out of pocket for another company to integrate payments for us.

    Fast forward to the forced end-of-life for our previous Lightspeed Webstore, and eCom is still not working properly. Lightspeed failed to correctly match up the fields when products are imported from the retail software OnSite, so none of our products display the description correctly. eCom somehow contains extra product variants that don’t exist in OnSite, with no way to manually edit them. Photos only upload for the master product, not for the variants, so it will take dozens of hours for our staff to go through the webstore and fix all the photos. With over 8000 products in our store already, none of these are fixable by us without investing an inordinate amount of man-hours into a product we’re already paying for. So far, most of my requests for support have been answered with either a nebulous “we’re working on it” or some DIY workaround that they expect their paying customers to carry out themselves. We’re about a day away from our previous webstore being forcibly taken offline by Lightspeed and being stuck with a semi-functional ecommerce system full of incomplete descriptions, ghost products and missing photos. Not ideal.

    In conclusion, there seems to be a major communication problem within Lightspeed as a company. The sales team clearly has ideas about what their product is capable of that the programming team doesn’t seem to be able to implement. I don’t want to blame the programming team, as I doubt they are the ones calling the shots and are likely doing their best, but the sales team is clearly over-promising without consulting with the people actually working on it. This is one of the pitfalls of purchasing a software solution created by another company, and is honestly pretty easy to predict. Ultimately, they are forcing their longstanding customers to move to a system that is not yet fully functional or ready for release. I’m not sure what else to call that than terrible customer service.

  4. I would wait at least a year to purchase the ECom for Lightspeed. Currently have it and it is a total disaster. Very expensive, poor functionality, poor support, and am waiting to see a professional functioning site in North America. Do not buy! So much time and hassle to add product specifications would take 100 hours to do when it could be done in 10 hours in magento, difficult to organize categories, can’t display serialized products…. the list goes on. Poor quality design templates that cost way too much per month. The sales staff are also awful, pushy, and don’t let you pay monthly put get you to pay upfront for 1-5 years. Highly regret the purchase. You also can’t do multiple fixed currencies.

  5. I have been using this for a few weeks and have severe issues. For one thing, products that are “out of stock” still appear on the website as “in stock”. People have been ordering things that we no longer have, which is quite embarresing.

  6. Since the shopping cart is hosted on their servers with their protection, what protection does the physical business owner have when it comes to fraudulent charges?

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