Lightspeed vs Shopify POS: The Best of All Lightspeed Alternatives

shopify pos vs lightspeed

Customers want the same exceptional experience whether they buy from your retail location or your online store. And you need a single, streamlined way to manage what matters to your business across every sales channel. So why use a point of sale solution that makes this difficult to do?

LEARN MORE: Still not sure what POS means? Read this article for a full POS definition.

We've spoken with plenty of business owners using Lightspeed who've asked themselves this same question. Broken inventory management that doesn't sync across storefronts, highly-technical customizations that require IT support, lengthy contracts⁠ that lock you in—these common frustrations with Lightspeed make it hard for businesses to stay nimble and provide the seamless experience their customers expect.

Shopify’s all-new POS is different. 

If Lightspeed is falling short and you're looking for alternatives, we're here to help. You won't find any suspicious-looking feature tables here; the crucial differences are what matter. So instead, we're sharing the real reasons store owners have told us why they switched to Shopify POS, and how it's unlocked step change improvements to their business. Here are five things to consider when comparing Lightspeed vs Shopify. 

Sell wherever your customers are

Meet your customers in remarkable ways wherever they shop. That's often called an "omnichannel" approach. We just think it's good business sense. And if you want the flexibility to sell everywhere, while making it easy for customers to start and continue their purchase from any channel, you need a system that automatically syncs your data and makes it easy to manage your business from anywhere.

🚫 Lightspeed

Lightspeed makes it challenging for retailers to manage multiple sales channels and get a single, unified view into how their business is doing. And whether you're selling through brick-and-mortar, an online store, social media, pop ups, or elsewhere, you never want customers to encounter a jarring break in their shopping experience.

Shopify POS

When lingerie brand LIVELY expanded from online-only into in-person tactics like brand ambassadors, events, and pop-up shops, they quickly saw the opportunity a brick-and-mortar location would bring to the brand. And they quickly recognized the importance of creating a consistent experience across all touchpoints. 

LIVELY uses Shopify POS to reach customers through multiple channels and touchpoints, and to nurture customer relationships for the long-term. For example, when a customer stops by a LIVELY store, their names and emails are captured using their Shopify POS, and customers are put into the same highly-effective sales funnel that they use for their online store. 

“[Today], most of our in-store customers become repeat customers online. It’s much easier to repeat a purchase online once you’ve come in, done a fitting, and know your bra size,” says Michelle. 

The kicker? According to LIVELY's internal data analysis, average order values are 60-80% higher among customers who interact with their brand across multiple channels. 

The ability to track, manage, and nurture customers across channels is especially critical today. With customers doing less in-store browsing, retailers need a flexible system that accommodates all shopping and fulfillment preferences, like local delivery, curbside pickup, or buy online pickup in-store––all features that Shopify POS offers. 

Unsurprisingly, these omnichannel capabilities also drive sales: retailers who connected their online and in-store sales with Shopify POS saw revenue increase by 30% year-over-year,* fueled in part by retailers who adopted features like curbside pickup as well as local delivery.

 * Includes combined online and in-store sales for Shopify merchants with physical store locations making a POS transaction in each of the 12-months of 2018 and 2019.

Sync inventory across every sales channel and physical location

🚫 Lightspeed

Lightspeed POS doesn’t sync inventory across channels in real-time, which can lead to stockouts that are both frustrating for customers and costly for your business. That’s what first motivated Caley Hui, founder of Garden Party Flowers to switch to Shopify POS from Lightspeed. To make his Shopify online store work with Lightspeed, he had to use an expensive third-party integration tool to sync orders and inventory. 

The most challenging part was that the order and inventory data didn’t sync in real time, so we never knew when the changes we made on Lightspeed would be reflected on our online store.

Caley Hui, founder of Garden Party Flowers

Caley found this was a massive problem during busy holidays like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, when sold-out items were still available online. When you have systems and tools that don’t work together to sync inventory across multiple channels and locations in real-time, you can lose out on major sales opportunities and make yourself susceptible to costly stockouts. 

Shopify POS

Let’s say a shopper enters your store and wants a specific product. Your store location is out of stock, but you have several in your warehouse. 

A retail associate equipped with Shopify POS can provide that information and offer different purchase options for said shopper, like buy in-store, ship to home. 

Inventory management goes beyond stockouts, it also involves demand forecasting and planning for the future. For those more complex inventory needs, Stocky by Shopify—Shopify’s integrated inventory management tool—makes it easy to manage purchase orders, forecast demand, handle stock transfers, and much more. It also tracks inventory across all store locations and warehouses in real-time, so no matter where or when you’re looking at the data, you can rest assured knowing it’s accurate. 

Reward customers for their loyalty 

Having repeat customers is the easiest and most cost-effective way to drive sales. These customers already know your store, brand, products, even associates in many cases. You’ve already built a foundation of trust—and you can use your retail POS to keep it. 

🚫 Lightspeed

The biggest drawback to Lightspeed’s system is the weak integration between their online and offline platforms. As a result, what a customer buys online doesn’t translate to offline perks, and vice versa. This is one of the reasons Juliana Di Simone, Partner at tokyobike, switched from Lightspeed to Shopify POS. 

Not being able to redeem gift cards across sales channels was frustrating for customers and costing us sales.

Juliana Di Simone, tokyobike

Shopify POS

Here are a few key loyalty considerations to keep in mind when comparing Shopify POS vs. Lightspeed: 

  • Gift cards: Gift cards are a customer retention tool. With Shopify POS, shoppers can purchase or redeem gift cards both online and in-store. A gift card purchased online, for example, can be used for an in-store purchase. Lightspeed, on the other hand, only offers physical gift cards for in-person purchases. This is a major deterrent, especially as shoppers are turning to online shopping more often than ever before.
  • Customer relationship management: Shopify POS builds a full customer profile with preferences and purchase history across all channels and locations. This gives merchants visibility needed to deliver great service and make smart recommendations in-store. Lightspeed only syncs customer contact info and preferences. They don't have order history across both.
  • Loyalty program: Shopify POS integrates with many loyalty program apps like Marsello, among others. Lightspeed Loyalty is built-in, but since customer order histories aren’t synced across channels, the functionality is limiting. The worst part? It's only available in the top-tier package, so loyalty programs come with a hefty price tag.

Customize your POS with clicks, not code 

🚫 Lightspeed

Lightspeed has limited app compatibility and typically requires coding experience to make any robust changes to functionality. If you're a larger retailer and you have an in-house developer or a generous IT budget, this may not be an issue. But for most retailers, this option is too costly (and time-consuming) and can even lead to a clumsy customer experience as the system becomes overloaded with features. 

Shopify POS

With Shopify POS, you can customize the platform and experience yourself—no coding needed. There are hundreds of apps that plug in seamlessly to help you build the tech stack you need to run your business. The main benefit is the ability to add (and subtract) functionality at will. 

Nimble is the name of the game right now. Retailers need to be able to adapt quickly in today’s economy, and that includes customizing your POS for new workflows, sales channels, payment methods, and more. 

Michelle from LIVELY explains that Shopify’s customizable platform allowed them to create an online booking experience, called a “fit sesh”, where women can fill out their personal details and schedule a time to come in for a bra fitting. 30% of their sales now come from people who booked fittings online.

Your POS needs to keep up with these rapidly changing demands. 

ENJOY EXCLUSIVE APP OFFERS: For a limited time only, Marsello, Endear, Dor, and Xero are offering exclusive offers and discounts for retailers who are new to Shopify POS.

Say goodbye to annual contracts 

It’s important to prioritize the features your business needs, but at the end of the day, you’re working with a budget. Shopify POS and Lightspeed each have different pricing levels to accommodate varying needs and budgets, but in almost all cases, Shopify is more affordable. We broke down the costs associated with Lightspeed vs Shopify so you can better-assess which one is the right fit for your business. 

🚫 Lightspeed

Customers who have switched from Lightspeed to Shopify POS cite lengthy contracts among their top complaints. 

With Lightspeed, ecommerce and one terminal are included, but you’re locked into an annual contract that starts at $129/month CAD, and the basic packages lack critical features like accounting, loyalty, and data insights. For these features, contracts start at $159/month and can go up to $289/month. 

The breakdown: 

  • Credit card rates are 2.6% + 10¢ per transaction 
  • Every register is an additional $39/month

Shopify POS

With Shopify POS, you have two options: Shopify POS or Shopify POS Pro. Shopify POS is included in your Shopify Plan, whereas Shopify POS Pro is $89/month––all features included. But until October 31, 2020, all of the advanced retail features are free. 

The breakdown: 

  • Credit card rates start at 2.4% + 0¢ per transaction.
  • Shopify POS doesn’t charge you per transaction
  • Unlimited registers 

Lightspeed vs Shopify: Make the switch to Shopify today (it’s easier than you think) 

Shopify POS and Lightspeed are comparable, but there are key differences that make Shopify the better option for retailers who want to grow sales beyond the four walls of their store. 

In short, Shopify POS brings your in-store and online data together in one place—so you get total control and insight into your business, from one backend. This is especially true if your online store is already hosted by Shopify’s ecommerce platform

And while switching your system can seem daunting, Shopify’s step-by-step onboarding process makes switching to Shopify POS easy. From setting up the Shopify POS, to migrating data over from Lightspeed, Shopify’s team of Retail Experts and Solution Engineers can help get you and your team up-to-speed quickly. 

In terms of our team, I think everyone thought [Shopify POS] was way easier. The transition was actually really, really easy for us. There are very few steps with Shopify. It's a one-click kind of thing.

Juliana Di Simone, tokyobike

Grow your business with Shopify

The all-new Shopify POS was built to help small business retailers thrive in the modern retail environment. Get all the features you need to run your online and brick-and-mortar storefrom one easy-to-use platform.   

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Lightspeed vs Shopify pos FAQ

Is Lightspeed better than Shopify?

It depends on your needs and preferences. Lightspeed and Shopify both offer powerful ecommerce solutions, but they each have different strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which platform is better for your business.

Is Lightspeed the same as Shopify?

No, Lightspeed and Shopify are two different e-commerce platforms. Lightspeed is a cloud-based software solution designed for small to medium-sized businesses, while Shopify is a cloud-based e-commerce platform designed for businesses of any size.