Lightspeed Review

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Lightspeed POS review

Lightspeed offers POS systems tailored for retail and restaurant outlets

Our Verdict

Lightspeed has built up a formidable package of Apple-based POS software and hardware that bristles with features. It’s perfect for both the retail and restaurant markets, while also having potential for the wider e-commerce arena.

  • Bespoke solution
  • Mac-friendly
  • Great reporting and analytics

Against

  • No Windows or Android option

Editor’s note: Looking for a POS system for your business? If you’re looking for information to help you choose the one that’s right for you, use the questionnaire below to provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

View offers at Lightspeed here

Lightspeed is a Canadian company that offers point of sale solutions for retail and restaurant businesses, as well as delivering custom e-commerce solutions for the last 15 years or so. While it does have off-the-shelf packages to choose from on its website the POS provider is most appealing in the fact that it can tailor individual systems to suit certain businesses.

That ultimately means you get a more personalized and bespoke technical setup. Equally, it also requires you to spend time talking to the company about how best to configure it. Therefore, Lightspeed POS might not be for the smaller business but it has the potential to be a real boon for any ventures that are really going places.

Pricing

Naturally, Lightspeed has a website that makes it seem pretty simple to pick one of their POS systems to support your business. The company divides its packages down the middle, with either retail or restaurant options to choose from.

However, dip into these two choices and you’ll find that there’s a little more to getting set up with a Lightspeed POS system than meets the eye. That’s not a bad thing mind, as Lightspeed POS packages can be carefully tailored to meet the needs of individual businesses.

Therefore, for restaurant focused POS the price currently starts at $59 / £59 per month, but you’ll need to speak to them in order to get a more personalized price.

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Retail pricing follows a similar theme, which currently equates to these monthly baseline charges: Basic $69 /£69, Starter $99 / £99, Standard $119, Advanced $169 / £129 and Pro $229 / £199. You can make savings by paying annually rather than monthly and bear in mind there will be other incidental charges due to the more custom approach of Lightspeed.

Lightspeed Restuarant pricing (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Features

A Lightspeed tailored POS solution will come configured with everything you need to either get your business up and running, or transform it into a leaner more efficient venture. Naturally, Lightspeed supports all payment types, including cash, credit and debit cards, checks, gift cards and store credit variants too.

Building out and managing your stock inventory is a core feature on the retail front and that’s covered suitably well by the Lightspeed system. In fact, Lightspeed offers such a full-service range of features for both its retail and restaurant POS systems that you really need to see their website for the full breakdown. It’s extensive to say the least.

Lightspeed’s POS software running on an iMac and iPad (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Performance

Lightspeed has invested a lot of time in having some very decent Mac-based kit available to help you get the best from its systems. There’s an iPad POS hardware option for example, with a PG cash drawer. Indeed, all of the Lightspeed software has been engineered to run on either Apple’s iOS for its tablet POS system or Mac OS for its desktop POS system.

As a result, you get the distinct feeling that businesses who favour the Apple route for day-to-day working will find much to make them feel at home within the Lightspeed environment. And, if you’ve got employees who like the slick way Apple ticks then they might be happier using Lightspeed over Microsoft Windows or Google Android-based systems, which aren’t currently available from the company.

Lightspeed order on an iPad (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Ease of use

As with any POS system, setting it up initially is where most work will be needed and Lightspeed has staff on hand to help guide you through this process. That begins with the initial consultation, which helps you to define exactly what you need for your business.

From there, Lightspeed will implement the hardware setup needed on site while you’ll be able to get yourself and your staff familiarized with the in-browser software systems. Due to Lightspeed being a more bespoke design, this might be more challenging than some basic off-the-shelf solutions. But the tradeoff for getting to grips with the more complex technology is you’ll have a much more potent POS at your disposal.

Lightspeed inventory management (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Support

Support is plentiful once you’re signed up with Lightspeed and forms part of the package that comes with having an account with them. Along with a customer help center within the website, which incidentally is divided into different core sections depending on what package you run, there is also 24/7 support available.

Lightspeed also has a cool blog area within its site too, which adds another interesting dimension to how and why its products and services are used. Combining these components together means that the support aspect of Lightspeed seems to be of a very good standard indeed.

Lightspeed mobile card reader (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Final verdict

Lightspeed has a lot going for it, assuming you’re happy with only being able to run it on Mac-based hardware. If you are then Lightspeed can be used in all manner of different ways, with retail and restaurant being the core focus of the POS solution.

Personalized packages can help you squeeze more out of the system and you’ll find that Lightspeed packs in lots of reporting and analytics to further beef up the key features of the various options it offers.

If you’re running a business that has outgrown its existing POS solution, or if you’re looking for something that employees will be able to master with ease, then likely Lightspeed will tick many of the right boxes. It’s not cheapest out there, but it does have a lot to offer.

Lightspeed Review

Lightspeed is a direct-access online brokerage that focuses on serving active and professional traders through its in-house and third-party trading platforms. Casual traders beware, not trading enough means paying high monthly platform fees.

Top Takeaways for 2020

After spending five months testing 15 of the best online brokers for our 10th Annual Review, here are our top findings on Lightspeed:

  • At Lightspeed, it is not uncommon for customers to trade over 1,000 times a year. As a result, Lightspeed is one of the few online brokers whose goal is to avoid beginners.
  • Lightspeed’s pricing is mostly on par with its competitors. That said, it doesn’t have the size and sophistication to offer lower costs than pricing leader Interactive Brokers.
  • Unlike some competitors, Lightspeed offers its own proprietary trading platform, Lightspeed Trader, which we found to be complementary to Das Trader Pro. That said, it doesn’t come close to matching the best day trading platforms.

Overall Summary

Feature Lightspeed
Overall 3 Stars
Commissions & Fees 2.5 Stars
Offering of Investments 3 Stars
Platforms & Tools 3 Stars
Research 2 Stars
Education 3 Stars
Mobile Trading 3 Stars
Customer Service 3.5 Stars
Ease of Use 3 Stars

Commissions & Fees

Through the main platform, Lightspeed Trader, two-tiered commission structures are offered: per share and per trade. The more volume you trade or the more frequently you trade, respectively, each month, the lower your rate will be.

Base pricing: With per share trading, equity trades start at $.0045 per share plus/minus routing fees ($1 minimum). Traders who place larger orders can opt to pay per trade, starting at $4.50, plus/minus routing fees. Options trades start at $.60 per contract and scale down in cost according to monthly volume.

Platform fees and misc charges: The Lightspeed Trader platform charges a $130 software fee each month. Commission spend applies towards this fee, so if a trader spends at least $130 in commissions the $130 fee is not applicable ($130 – $130 = $0). As another example, if the trader spends only $40 in commissions, they would be charged $90 ($130 – $40) for that month. Also, unless traders opt to use the LSPT Route, they are fully responsible for market center routing fees. Rebates are provided for adding liquidity, while charges are assessed for taking liquidity.

Lightspeed pricing summary:

Feature Lightspeed
Minimum Deposit $10,000.00
Stock Trade Fee (per trade) $4.50
ETF Trade Fee $4.50
Options Base Fee $0.00
Options Per Contract Fee $0.60
Mutual Fund Trade Fee N/A
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $25.00
Commission-Free ETFs 0

Platforms & Tools

For our review, we focused solely on Lightspeed’s flagship platform, Lightspeed Trader, a desktop-based platform designed for speed, stability, and execution. While not the prettiest platform (it certainly would place last in any beauty pageant), the platform serves its purpose. For example, Lightspeed Trader includes endless hotkey options for trading on the fly. That said, beyond placing lightning-fast trades, Lightspeed Trader has little to offer. I found the charting to be just okay, and the analytical tools were certainly lacking, less the access to TipRanks research.

Other platform options: Lightspeed offers customers multiple platforms to trade on. Under Lightspeed’s parent company, three platforms are corporate-owned: Lightspeed Trader, Lightspeed Web Trader, and Sterling Trader. Third-party trading platforms focused on equities trading on offer to customers include RealTick Pro and Express. For options trading, there is Livevol X (owned by the CBOE, Lightspeed is the only broker with an enterprise license to offer the platform to customers), Derivix, Obsidian, OptionsCity, Valdi Options Solutions, and Wex. Lastly, for futures trading, customers can select from several options: RealTick, CQG, CunninghamTrading Systems (CTS), NinjaTrader, Patsystems, Quick Screen Trading (QST), RAN, and Trading Technologies (TT).

Web trading: For less active investors insistent on using Lightspeed, who looking for something more basic (and less expensive), Lightspeed Web Trader (browser-based) is the best option. Web Trader offers the same look and feel as Lightspeed Trader; however, the platform lacks advanced functionality such as hotkeys, level 2 quotes, basket order entry, and direct market access, and there is no access to TipRanks research.

Research

Lightspeed makes little effort to offer fundamental and technical research tools since traditional research is mostly irrelevant to professional traders. If there is one benefit, Lightspeed Trader platform customers do have access to TipRanks at no additional cost. Bottom line though, beyond TipRanks, a stock scanner, and basic quotes, market research is not offered.

Customer Service

To score Customer Service, StockBrokers.com partners with customer experience research group Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2020 Broker Review, 280 customer service tests were conducted over ten weeks.

Results

  • Average Connection Time: th (14 brokers)

Mobile Trading

The Lightspeed mobile app connects to Lightspeed Web Trader accounts, not the flagship Lightspeed Trader platform. Even with access, functionality is scarce as the app focuses solely on the essential functionality required to trade.

Offering of Investments

Lightspeed offers active traders fully featured stock and options trading. This means direct market routing to numerous venues, an extensive list of order types, and complex options. That said, everyday investors will not find support for fixed-income (bonds), mutual funds, or any commission-free ETFs. Self-directed trading aside, Lightspeed’s institutional arm offers algorithmic (algo) trading through its Lightspeed Trader API and black box developer kits, both of which are often used only by hedge funds.

Final Thoughts

Lightspeed is not an online broker built with new or casual investors in mind. Instead, it caters to active, professional, and institutional traders alike, all looking for fast executions, reliable market routes, and dependable platforms built to serve one purpose: trading.

About Lightspeed

Feeling confused is a common experience for first-time visitors to the Lightspeed website, unless they can speak the lingo of Lightspeed’s target market, the active trader.

Lightspeed is one of the few online brokers whose goal is to avoid newer investors and those with little experience. The definition of «active trader» has a different meaning at Lightspeed compared to traditional online brokers. At Lightspeed, it is not uncommon for customers to place over 1,000 trades each year.

2020 Review Methodology

For the StockBrokers.com tenth annual best online brokers review published in January 2020, a total of 3,540 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

Lightspeed Reviews

489 • Excellent

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Reviews 489

Lightspeed was the best decision I made…

Lightspeed was the best decision I made for my retail business. We carry clothing and shoes in multiple sizes and colours and the inventory portion of Lightspeed is really good at helping us manage these. We have multiple retail locations and an e-commerce website (created by myself through Lightspeed eCom) and because Lightspeed is cloud-based we can connect our inventory from all locations providing up-to date information. My e-commerce sales are automatically deducted from my physical shop so I don’t oversell an item that I don’t have. Our locations can see each other’s stock and transfer inventory between them. The new Loyalty is great at tracking and rewarding my customers for being loyal! Support has been phenomenal and I’ve never had to pay extra for that help. Cost was manageable and it provided immediate data about so many areas of my business.

I’ve been using Lightspeed restaurant POS at my cafe for over 3 years now and it continues to be an excellent system. All of our sales numbers are easily tracked and sorted. The programing interface is highly customizable to individual needs. While the multitude of features can make things more complex at times this is easily offset by Lightspeed’s 24h customer service which is always helpful and friendly. I highly recommend it for any retail or food service business.

I just read the reviews and I’m confused.

I have been using Lightspeed since July. I am surprised to see anyone complaining about their customer service. Ant time I have called, I either get them quickly or get a call back in an appropriate time. I have had one question regarding a stand alone credit card processing for my wife’s business. three calls and a very thorough follow up, we found out it’s not possible. Personally, I wish she would also use Lightspeed.

So 5 star is the rating Lightspeed gets…

So 5 star is the rating Lightspeed gets for how well it works, especially with respect to how well it integrates with the website, Ive been with many other programs and yes Lightspeed should rank up there.

Now the issue is the service, not the help you get when your trying to figure out how something works, its the lack of service you get with staff who take your money, Ive tried for over a year to get an actual statement of what we are being charged for and nothing, and if you have an issue with say a login, you will get shuffled around , no one will actually be able to help, they will just pass you onto someone who cannot help.

They have no interest in making things right, you are just basically out money and time, Ive had staff sit for days while I wait for an issue to get fixed.

I have installed numerous POS systems…

I have installed numerous POS systems in my 30+ years of experience. LightSpeed is by far the most comprehensive system, yet easiest system to implement and use.

There support mechanism is second to none. If you look your question up in help, there will be documentation to answer your question, and chances are there is a video that walks you step by step through the solution.

If you feel like you want to get live help, there chat mechanism is one of the best, better yet, the support people on the chat are the most patient and knowledgeable support people in the business.

Simply the best.

Do your research!

Sales team will tell you it can do everything. Reality is that it is very expensive for this to do what you need it to do. They aren’t honest about how it’s priced and it’s not until you have committed to a contract and gone through a lot of the setup that you realise that they weren’t being honest. I really don’t know how you would get around this and probably those who are looking to move from one system to another would know better questions to task. We are an independent retailer investing in a new system.
They said it would take a couple of weeks to set it all up – it’s taken nearly 6 months! They offer you a load of freebies to entice you – they sent us inappropriate equipment that isn’t even compatible with each other.
It’s working for us ok, but considering the amount of investment it is certainly not a system i would recommend because it doesn’t work how we were promised so need to continue to have other systems working alongside it.
Also, sales don’t talk to technical who don’t talk to customer support so what we have found is that sales team and customer support team don’t really understand the limitations of the system. When you speak to the technical team, they are honest, but of course customer support and sales don’t like that so my advice would be to speak to someone technical before making a decision to clarify that it does what you need.
We were keen at first because you can easily speak to someone, but we have now realised that is because they don’t like putting things in writing!

We would like to sincerely apologize for your recent experience, and we are sorry to hear you were less than satisfied with the product and service received. We see that you have been in touch with our Customer Success team and we encourage you to continue working with them.

Adaptable, Stable, Outstanding Customer Service

Lightspeed has been an ideal fit for us.

I was initially uncertain that Lightspeed would be able to meet all of my business’ needs. We’re a grocery, a full service dining concept with two complicated menus, a cafe, a bakery, an event space, a confectioner, and a wholesaler.

We needed a POS that would be intuitive and adaptable to a very dynamic menu, and usable by professional servers, as well as kitchen and production staff. We got it!The customer service is outstanding, and offered hands-on support with our setup.

The team has always been very helpful and fast to respond; I’m also very pleasantly surprised how much development is being done with the app. This is definitely a well-supported POS that is constantly being improved. I’m extremely impressed by how well it works for our unique “combo based” menu.

Lightspeed has helped close a lot of expensive simple human error loopholes, prompting cashiers for commonly missed items and steps. We decided to invest in the “Liteserver,” which was an expensive piece of hardware, but a welcome relief during internet outages. Losing WiFi during a busy brunch was disastrous with previous cloud-based POS’es, but now we don’t even miss a beat (or a ticket).

I switched to Lightspeed based on a…

I switched to Lightspeed based on a friend in the same business and couldn’t be happier. I just re-upped again. The fact that items exist on the cloud helps me when working from home, and the customer service is 2nd to none. Highly recommend.

FIG Studio Kitchen loves Lightspeed

My husband and I own FIG Studio Kitchen in Ripley, Ontario
We have been in business for almost 2 years. When we were researching what POS system to use Lightspeed won. We liked how easy it was to program with our menu items, floor plan and back ends amenities which made accounting a breeze. Now it wasn’t always easy and we had a few issues or problems to fix. but all you do is contact customer support and they would help you with any problem. They also send you a recap of your issue and how they fixed it or if they needed to review from their end. Excellent system and we would highly recommend it!

Very poor customer service mean I’m moving away

Overall the software is good, but customer service is non-existent and the default position always seems to be it’s your fault.

We changed bank account last year, and while all our payments were moved automatically, the card payments weren’t. Lightspeed didn’t let me know they couldn’t take payment, via an email or a phonecall, they just took the site down, at 5.30pm on a Friday with no access to the accounts department until Monday morning to resolve the issue. And no way to pay online. Yes, no way to pay a company that makes software that helps you sell online, unless you call them by phone. This was all over a £15 theme bill, when we pay them £1,500 a year to host our service.

The final straw for me is that I’m opening another new store soon and it seems for one extra register to be able to cash up at the end of the day, Lightspeed want basically the whole amount of our subscription again. Plus I realise when I look at their online materials about pricing I realise I’m actually paying over the rack rate and they have the nerve to tell me I’m getting a discount.

Due for renewal in June, and I’m already working to migrate away. Only interested in payments, not interested in offering proper customer service support which I would expect when shelling out that kind of money annually.

We would like to apologize for your recent experience with Lightspeed and hope that we can work with you in order to get things moving in the right direction. We will have someone from our Customer Success Team reach out to you shortly. We value our customers feedback, and would be grateful to have the opportunity to address your needs and concerns.

Worst Customer Support

Worst Customer Support. The only thing this company is good for is taking your money. I first started my service last year every time you want something to be updated it takes 5-7 Business days, and you call after 7 days it will take another 5-7 days. And once it gets done the other representative tells you didn’t request the right thing, you have to do this to make it work, Then the whole cycle needs to be redone. The company should hire the right people. and keep in mind you have keep you service on while they do everything to update their system. after going back and forth with them for 4 months i cancelled my service.

Then again I get a call ohh we will fix everything don’t worry about it, again the same thing. they charged my card twice. and know i have to fight with them to get my money back. and Yes this time I cancelled my service.

We would like to sincerely apologize for your recent experience, and we are sorry to hear you were less than satisfied with the product and service received. We see that you have been in touch with our Customer Success team and we encourage you to continue working with them.

Lightspeed is an authentic company that recognizes the importance of independent business

Lightspeed is an amazing company that supports local business with POS systems and Ecom.
Great supportive team that is eager to help independent business.
During this COVID-19 crisis they became a lifeline for us to help get us on board to the Ecom world. Shoutout to the dedicated and patient team we encountered:
Megan Belafi, Sacha Mosseri, Yacine Diallo, Kristine Longchamps, Jared Laberge
Editorial Boutique team thanks you for your help!

Robust and Intuitive

Lightspeed is a robust, intuitive POS that can work with you to build your business. Best of all, the technical and sales support teams are top notch. It is not the lowest cost option on the market and it pays to make sure that you can take advantage of the platform, either through your existing hardware or reporting platforms. That being said, it gives you the flexibility to use a desktop or iPad – and, in a pinch, your mobile device – to make sales, rather than making you buy or rent an entire suite of hardware.

Absolutely 5 stars!

Absolutely 5 stars. Customer service and on-board training are great. That’s what we were promised when we signed up and they delivered. Well done Lightspeed team

I have been using Lightspeed retail in…

I have been using Lightspeed retail in my pet shop for several years now and think it’s great. The best part is their customer service, if I have a problem or question (as I am computer illiterate, lol), they are always there to help guide me through it. I have compared pricing also and have found them to be right on par if not cheaper. I recommend them every chance I get.

I highly recommend this software for…

I highly recommend this software for its robust feature set, its usability, its stability, and the excellent support the Lightspeed team provides.

I was responsible for purchasing and maintaining a POS system (replacing an outdated system) for a restaurant/bar that is open 7 days a week 365 days a year from 11am-2am. We had demos of Lightspeed and the team was impressed but initially we elected to take a chance with a slightly lower-cost system.

The first system we used was good, had some nice features and the price was right; but the users were not crazy about the interface and the stability was an issue. We had slowness in ticket management that frustrated my team and impeded their ability to provide the best service for our customers. Additionally, the bluetooth credit card readers in use regularly dropped connection and would have to be reconnected – a task that not all bartenders felt comfortable with doing which meant that I had to rush down at all hours to reconnect the devices for them. Not convenient.

After a year we decided to replace that system and we went with Lightspeed. WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT.

First, the software fully met our requirements for features and my team loved the interface making training for the transition a breeze. Second, we have little to no lag or performance issues since the switch to Lightspeed. Third, we selected hard-wired credit card readers and I have never, not once in the year since we made the transition to Lightspeed have I had to fiddle with a credit card reader or rush down to the bar to correct a POS issue. Finally, in the rare instances we have had a problem, the support staff at Lightspeed are knowledgeable and professional.

This software has made my life easier, I am confident it will do the same for you.

HANDS DOWN THE BEST BUSINESS DECISION I HAVE MADE!

We, My Tobbies – Toys & Hobbies, have been with Lightspeed since October 2020. We started with the Cloud POS first then added the Ecom and finally added the loyalty to our plan once it became available. Dependable, being scale-able to your business and 24/7 phone support are only the few of many qualifications of Lightspeed. HANDS DOWN THE BEST BUSINESS DECISION I HAVE MADE!

Our 9 sites have recently started to…

Our 9 sites have recently started to use Lightspeed L Series. From an accounting point-of-view the Lightspeed support is exceptionally poor. The support staff know very little about what the individual elements of the Lightspeed accounting setup actually do (their own software!) and absolutely nothing about the impact on other third party accounting software. So brace yourself for a difficult time figuring out how the automated postings come through from Lightspeed to your accounting software! Lightspeed support are next to useless in my experience. Lots of time on hold listening to the wonderful ‘on hold’ music.

We would like to apologize for your recent experience with Lightspeed and hope that we can work with you in order to get things moving in the right direction. We see that our Customer Success team have already reached out, they will continue working with you to address your concerns.

Worst Customer Service

To all the lightspeed Customers,
I have been using Lightspeed since 2020 and I was the fist one to introduce lightspeed in Montreal for the dine-in restaurant. We started from 1.0 version of the lightspeed. I was very happy with their service,support and new initiative. I have used lightspeed for my three locations without checking any price. We opened the fourth location and contacted our Account Management Executive. She did not sales properly and messed up so many things. We had contacted well in advance and planned our opening date. She sent only hardwares well in advance and trying to charge us for the software part without even opening the branch. She was very keen to get the business not to fulfil customer needs. She went for the vacation with out sending lightspeed server along with hardware and they did not communicate to us she missed out lightspeed server when they send other hardwares. We came to know once opened the box by the installer- Jean-Louis, Lightspeed installation partner. He installed and set up everything without lightspeed. We could not operate the business even though business started because of lightspeed was missing. We had to wait two weeks to get the lightspeed and we lost two weeks business because Account Manager careless. We complaint to the our customer service manager. We did not understand business impact and lost of revenue. He was keep insisting to us we will reimburse one month lightspeed license cost fee. He did not convince and satisfy customer problem and let us to cancel the lightspeed . He is talking about the contract and did not realize real time problem and cause of the problem. Being loyal customers for the last 5 years, I would like to cancel lightspeed service from all my locations(four locations so far) and discussing with lawyer to take legal action again lightspeed. New team of lightspeed don’t value customers. Lightspeed will go down if they continue the service like this. Hopefully management will fix the issue and resolve the customer satisfaction issues.

Excellent service and features to improve your work and customers services

Lightspeed offer an excellent service with technical support. It’s a gain of time for the inventory gestion and your work organisation.
When you are confortable with all the options and features, you can really improve how you work with many suppliers and offer nice services to your customers.

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