Lightspeed is traditionally a point of sale (POS) and retail system for restaurants and retailers. Recently they’ve launched a cloud-based e-commerce system that integrates with their existing products. Even if you’re not a user of their other products you can still use their e-commerce builder to create a modern and fully-featured online store backed by apps that can enable powerful selling techniques and simplify inventory and customer management.
Below we take a look at the ins and outs of this builder, so you can determine if it’s the right fit for your business.
Find What You’re Looking For
Lightspeed is a fairly new e-commerce builder. The company has been around for a while and has offices all over the globe. But, until 2016 they were primarily a POS retailer. Lightspeed currently has some 35,000 customers doing over $12 billion in sales annually.
Instead of building their e-commerce builder from scratch they purchased the e-commerce tool SEOShop and integrated it within their existing offerings.
Lightspeed E-Commerce Features
Lightspeed offers users a variety of features. However, most of the advanced features are only available to customers who purchase their higher-level packages. Some of their most useful features are highlighted below.
You’ll have no shortage of options to offer your customers. This builder has features like automated tax calculation, support for multiple currencies and languages, and integrated shipping options.
Plus you can add up to 10 different images for every product in your store, and there’s a search feature that makes it easy for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for.
Lightspeed truly cares about SEO. You can do things like edit your metadata, titles, tags, descriptions, and meta descriptions. Plus, all of their themes are optimized with SEO best-practices in mind and all of the themes load incredibly fast, which is a current Google ranking factor.
If you want to have a blog, they have you covered with SEO tools there, too. Lightspeed offers a built-in blogging tool so you can create SEO optimized content easily.
If you do run a global store, then you’ll be happy to hear that the SEO features will work for search engines all over the world.
A lot of builders skimp on the marketing and let you figure it out yourself. Lightspeed offers an array of marketing tools to help your store grow.
For instance, you can integrate your store with email marketing providers, connect your site to social media, sell directly on Facebook, and create a blog for your store. You can create various coupons and promotions to encourage your customers to buy more from you. You can add product reviews as a feature, and choose to moderate those or not.
Shoppers can wishlist items and compare products using built-in tools.
How fast your site loads can have a huge impact on user experience, but it also impacts how search engines rank you. Having a fast-loading site is vital to your online success, and it is doubly important for e-commerce sites that can get very code-heavy. Lightspeed eComm offers an optimized back end, which they promise will help your site load fast.
Staying on top of your inventory is critical for e-commerce success. Lightspeed eCom offers easy to use inventory management features, including the ability to implement product features so shoppers can find what they are looking for. You can also create product categories, process returns, add and update product descriptions, add photos, and more.
Lightspeed’s design function balances ease of use with the ability to customize features to your liking. You can use optimized website templates to easily create a beautiful e-commerce store–no coding skills needed. But, if you prefer to customize certain elements, you can use the template editor to access the HTML and CSS.
This unique feature allows you to integrate your online and in stores into one platform so you can offer a great experience no matter where your shoppers find you. Features include centralized inventory, the ability to track customers both online and in-store, and the ability to generate a report covering both online and in-store metrics.
Building Your E-commerce Store
Once you’ve created an account you’ll be taken to your user dashboard, where you’ll find a walkthrough that guides you through setting up your account. With the basics of your account setup, you can then start building your store.
Lightspeed has over 140 different themes for you to choose from when building out your store and they add new themes monthly. All of these themes are also responsive, so they’ll look and perform across every screen size. The only downside is only 10 of these themes are free. The rest of the themes require a small monthly fee for continued use. All of the themes are modern and cater to a ton of different niches.
Once you’ve chosen your theme you’ll be taken to the theme editor, which enables you to change things like your background color, font choice, header and footer colors, headlines, and overall layouts. Making all of these changes is very simple and will only take a few clicks of the mouse.
If you do have any HTML or CSS skills, then you can customize your site even further. However, be aware that if you do make any changes to your site you’ll no longer be able to receive any site updates or support.
See Lightspeed templates
Adding products to your store is a simple two-step process. First, you’ll enter basic product information, then you’ll be taken to another screen where you can fill in additional product details. You’ll have options like SEO optimization, product quantities, discounts, showcase related products, set product categories, and a lot more.
You can choose to have YouTube product videos display on your product detail pages. And you can enable “Quick shop” — a feature that lets the visitor view product details and order directly from a home or category page, without having to click through to the product detail page.
There are currently five different payment options you can integrate into your new e-commerce store.
On top of that, you can also offer your customers the ability to pay via bank transfer or via invoice. Compared to some builders the payment options are a bit limited but should be versatile enough to get your store up and running.
One of the great things about Lightspeed is their hassle-free shipping. This builder integrates with nearly every shipping carrier around the world, so shipping isn’t something you have to worry about. Plus, there are one-click shipping labels to help speed up the delivery process.
Shipping rates are automatically calculated for your customers, along with automatic tracking emails, so your customer’s can keep tabs on delivery.
Plugins and Apps
This is one of the best features Lightspeed has to offer. Want to sell tickets? There’s an app for that. Want to let your users sign in via a social platform? There’s an app for that.
Lightspeed offers over 90 different apps that you can install on your site to extend its functionality. You’ll find plugins and apps that will help you with your marketing, sales, customer support, accounting, shipping, inventory management, customer personalization, and a lot more.
Some popular apps include:
- MailChimp integration for email marketing
- Zendesk integration for better customer support
- MyProductUpsell to improve sales
- ReloadSEO to grow search engine rankings
- Notification Bar to grow your email list.
- Count Down Cart, to increase checkouts
- MyProdcut Reviews, to gather and post reviews on your site.
- Simply Translate to translate language automatically
Their entire list of apps is quite extensive and you’ll probably be able to find any additional features you’re looking to add to your store.
You can choose to A/B test your checkout by offering customers 3 different checkout experiences and selecting the one that has the highest conversion rate.
Multiple Language Support
On their more advanced packages, you’ll have access to an international selling option. This will translate your site to customers in other regions. Plus, it will automatically adjust the currency and calculate taxes in their local currency. With this feature, you’ll be able to serve a worldwide customer-base without the added hassle.
Lightspeed Support Team & Resources
With such a wide range of products, there is a definite risk of the Lightspeed support team being a jack of all trades and master of none. Luckily, this doesn’t seem to be the case. There are several methods of reaching support team members and plenty of resources if you like to figure stuff out on your own.
How to Reach Lightspeed Support
You can reach out to support by phone, request a callback, or submit a request via email. They tout 24/7 support by phone in English and other languages during specific business hours, which is ideal for international selling. However, there is no mention of how fast they respond to emails or tickets.
For those who prefer to do things themselves, there’s an in-depth knowledge base and resource section filled with helpful blog posts and white papers. Both are well-organized and filled with all the essential information on getting your store setup.
If you prefer to get help in a community forum, they have that, too. The forums are aimed at entrepreneurs and are split by what type of business you are in, including retail, restaurant, e-commerce, or onsite. With such a wide range of products, there is a definite risk of the Lightspeed support team being a jack of all trades and master of none. Luckily, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
3 Reasons to Use Lightspeed
Lightspeed is a feature-packed e-commerce builder geared towards mid-sized to large businesses. Below you’ll find three reasons Lightspeed might be the right fit for your needs.
It’s Packed With Features
Lightspeed offers a ton of different features, including inventory management, marketing tools, built-in analytics, product customization, and a lot more. Plus, their app section takes your store’s functionality even further.
You’re Already Using Their POS
If you’re already using their point-of-sale system and are looking for a way to build out an e-commerce store, then this is a no-brainer. With the seamless integration of the POS and e-commerce builder, you’ll be able to create an online store that matches the look and feel of your storefront, all without the added headache.
You Require a Scalable Builder
With its various plan options, this is a builder that’s designed to grow with you. A lot of e-commerce builders are built for smaller shops, but Lightspeed offers the support and technology for even the largest e-commerce stores.
3 Reasons to Pass on Lightspeed
Lightspeed isn’t for the casual e-commerce store owner who only wants to sell a few products. Below you’ll find a few reasons this builder isn’t the best fit for you.
It’s a Large Investment
This e-commerce builder is on the higher-end of the price spectrum. Even when looking at the lower end of their offerings. Lightspeed caters to e-commerce store owners who already have a large budget. If you have a smaller budget, then you’ll want to look for a different builder.
You Want More Control Over the Design
The existing themes are high-quality, but the customization options are a little weak. Your final store may end up resembling the sample theme, instead of something truly unique. You can edit the theme if you know HTML and CSS, but you’ll be voiding access to updates and customer support.
You’re Running a Smaller Store
If all you require is a simple builder to help you sell a handful of products, then this isn’t the right builder for you. Lightspeed is geared towards the higher end of the market and is a better fit for store owners who want to build large-scale e-commerce stores.
What About Lightspeeds’ POS System?
Lightspeed is best known for their retail POS (point of sale) system. This is very useful for business owners who are already using their system and looking to start selling online or new businesses looking to tackle both online and in-store sales.
The two systems integrate, so you can track inventory no matter how it is sold. They offer tons of training to get you set up and even offer the hardware (computer, scanner, printer, etc.) you need to get started.
Features of the POS system include reporting and analytics, customer loyalty programs, integrated checkout, and the ability to manage multiple physical locations as well as online sales simultaneously.
Overall, Lightspeed is on the higher end of the pricing spectrum. Especially with the added monthly fees for premium themes and plugins. However, Lightspeed does pack an impressive feature-set and a high-quality e-commerce tool to back it up.
It’s probably best suited for larger enterprises who have a higher budget to invest in their e-commerce setup. It is very easy to use and even people without any development experience will find building their site a breeze.
If you’re a current user of their POS system, then simultaneously running an e-commerce store with this tool makes sense. You’ll be better able to manage your inventory and offer a seamless buying experience both online and off.