11.23.2021

The Best POS Alternatives to Lightspeed

Written by Conal Yarwood-Frost

epos now vs lightspeed v2

It’s easy to see why POS systems have become a dominant technology in the retail and restaurant industries. The ease of use, endless utility and incredible benefits of these innovative systems make them hard to pass up. Successful corporations and new small businesses alike have come to embrace POS systems as an intrinsic part of their success.

Since 2015, the Canada-based POS company Lightspeed has established itself as a leader in the industry with customers across the world. While Lightspeed offers a solid service, there are some drawbacks to its system and its services. In this article, we’ll take a look at how Lightspeed compares to other point of sale (POS) systems on the market. 

What is Lightspeed?

Lightspeed offers three systems that are geared toward different industries including retail, golf, and restaurants. While their golf package is the more specialized of the three, in that it focuses on a much smaller industry, the three packages offer quite similar software and integration features. 

For small to mid-sized businesses, every penny counts, everything from marketing to the software must be budgeted for. Lightspeed offers one of the more expensive systems on the market with its three different packages. Each package is paid monthly with the cheapest starting at $69/month, and the most expensive coming in at $199/month [1]. While some smaller companies may decide that their service justifies the price, many more will be put off by the expense. 

One of Lightspeed’s main selling points is that their systems will simplify your business by offering a unified cash register. While this might sound like an attractive feature, in reality, this means that business owners have less control over the design and layout of their till. While it is possible to edit the theme if you know some basic coding, this is something that regular business owners just won’t have the skills or time to do. 

When it comes to data storage, there are some restrictions with Lightspeed since they operate as a cloud-only system. Running on the cloud offers a ream of benefits, such as remote back-office access and simplified storage. However, it’s only as dependable on your internet connection if it’s not supported by strong internet, and a back-up system. 

LiteServer is an optional, paid add-on offered by Lightspeed that replicates a traditional analogue storage system. Unfortunately, it does not support credit card payment or provide live insights without an internet connection, nor does it back up sales data that was collected during the shortage [3]. For businesses based in areas with a poor internet connection, the potential for service disruption is too big to ignore.  

Now that we understand why some companies would want a Lightspeed alternative, let’s explore some point of purchase competitors. 

Square 

Founded in 2009 by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and businessman Jim McKelvey, Square is a POS service named after the square shape of their card readers [4]. Square’s biggest selling point is its ease of use. Compared to Lightspeed, Square can be set up in an hour or so and businesses can start taking payments almost immediately. 

Looking at the hardware, Square provides its basic reader for free which means there is a very low price barrier to entry. While Square’s software works on iOS and Android devices, it does now currently support Windows. This could lead to higher costs as you may need to switch over your hardware to meet Square’s requirements. Merchant’s should also be aware that since Square devices have built-in payment processing features, they can only run the Square software. If you want to switch away from Square software, you will need to buy new POS hardware.

Square is a cloud-based POS system in much the same way Lightspeed is. Their POS software stores all its data in offsite servers. Square’s free software bundle does cover some very useful day-to-day features. Yet, you will be required to pay for a higher-level software plan to access many of its advertized features. 

Square is best suited to smaller businesses that are looking for an easy and quick way to start selling. As your business grows however, you may find that Square is quickly outmatched by other alternatives, as a lot of their powerful features require a monthly subscription

Tevalis

Based in the English city of Hull, Tevalis is a leader in POS technology for the hospitality industry. This focus on hospitality allows them to offer specialized services for their customers that outpaces the more generalized markets Lightspeed cater to. 

For established businesses that are committed to growth, Tevalis is a good option. The reporting mechanisms are geared towards provider owners with reports that compile useful information like revenue vs visits, and revenue vs daily profit. This data can be invaluable and can be incredibly useful in building a business strategy. 

With that being said, Tevalis’ goal is to make things easier for the seller rather than the customer. For many entrepreneurs, this is a major downside as good customer service is integral to the success of hospitality businesses. Tevalis’ focus on hospitality means that retailers will have to choose a different POS system. 

Epos Now

Epos Now is a cloud-based POS service founded in 2011 by founder and current CEO Jacyn Heavens. They are market leaders for POS software and hardware for the hospitality and retail industries. 

Designed to make life easy for business owners and their customers, Epos Now systems offer an unrivalled level of customization that benefits everyone. Epos Now are able to configure their systems to focus on specific sectors of their industry with dedicated software modules. This allows owners to focus on their business and streamline their processes while providing a better customer experience

Business owners are also able to integrate hundreds of helpful apps into their systems. This gives them an unprecedented level of control over how they want their tills to work. A major part of the Epos Now mission statement is giving businesses the tools they need to operate in the exact way they want. 

Epos Now’s belief in the freedom to do things the way to you isn’t limited to their customization and integration options. Their software works across Apple, Windows, and Android devices, granting an even greater level of ease. Unlike other companies, their hardware isn’t locked into only using their software. This means that if you want to retain your Epos Now terminal while using a different POS system, you can. 

A better alternative

The retail and hospitality POS technology offered by Epos now is a clear winner when compared with its competitors. The sheer utility of its customization options means that it can cover the needs of all sorts of businesses. 


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