Lightspeed takes on Shopify with new e-commerce platform

Dive Brief:

  • Lightspeed POS is launching a new e-commerce management platform targeting small and medium sized businesses, designed to integrate with its cloud-based Lightspeed Retail POS solution for brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Lightspeed is rolling out the new platform after completing efforts to integrate technologies developed by SEOshop, the Dutch e-commerce software startup it acquired last year.
  • Lightspeed currently serves more than 36,000 retailers and restaurateurs processing over $12 billion in transactions annually.

Dive Insight:

Montreal-based startup Lightspeed, known for building point-of-sale software for brick-and-mortar retailers, is expanding into the digital space with a new e-commerce platform promising merchants a range of tools and analytics services. The platform integrates with Lightspeed's flagship POS system to enable small and medium sized offline retailers to launch online stores, complete with options for synchronizing inventory, sales reporting and customer sales data. Stores may also transfer inventory between the two channels and analyze performance metrics.

“Anyone who has a retail store should have an online presence, and vice versa,” Lightspeed Chief Revenue Officer JP Chauvet told Retail Dive. “Brick-and-mortar stores with no online presence still make up about a third of the market. We can generate an e-commerce store for them in one click. It’s fully automated.”

Chauvet said the Lightspeed eCom platform also addresses merchants seeking to integrate their existing online and offline efforts. According to Retail Systems Research data cited by Lightspeed, more than 60% of retailers say inventory insight, real-time customer visibility and product information across channels is essential to doing business, yet more than 40% of retailers struggle to coordinate their in-store and online efforts.

“We talked to retailers and found they spend hours every day trying to reconcile the two platforms,” Chauvet said. “It’s very, very painful for them.”

The Lightspeed eCom platform pits the firm in direct competition with e-commerce software giant Shopify. On paper it looks like anything but a fair fight. Shopify reported impressive fourth-quarter results last month, with year-over-year subscription revenue growing 70% to $34.6 million and the number of merchants using its platform jumping to 243,000, up from 200,000 in the previous quarter.

Chauvet is unfazed by the challenge. “Shopify has an amazing e-commerce engine. They now have a POS system for in-store, too," he said. "Some people say, ‘I’m going to buy Lightspeed for my in-store and buy Shopify for my online.’ So we acquired ShopSEO, a pure-play e-commerce system—the Shopify of Europe, with a very wide customer base—and we spent the last six months integrating it very deeply with our in-store [technology]. We’re coming to market with the best products in their categories for online and offline, and they’re fully integrated.”

Lightspeed eCom pricing starts at $59 per month. The price falls to $51 per month for merchants who sign up for a 12-month subscription.

“The cloud has made accessible to small and medium sized retailers the same technologies as a Wal-Mart, at a very low monthly fee,” Chauvet said. “We want to be sure cities are not just full of big-box retailers, but that independent retailers can still thrive. We think cities are much more fun when there are a lot of independent retailers and restaurants, rather than everything standardized.”

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Filed Under: Technology E-commerce