Looking for Point of Sale software? Here's how Square Retail and Lightspeed Retail stack up.
Last updated 10o September 2020
3.8 Stackupp rating
Get started Square Retail review
$ 60.00 / month
small and medium-sized businesses that are looking for an intuitive interface and a straightforward pricing model.
3.5 Stackupp rating
Get started Lightspeed Retail review
$ 69.00 / month
small and medium-sized businesses that are looking for a fully integrated ecommerce solution that includes inventory management and store-building. Restaurateurs should also consider Lightspeed.
Square Retail or Lightspeed Retail: Which is best?
Can't decide between Square Retail and Lightspeed Retail?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of Square Retail and Lightspeed Retail. See how each platform stacks up across ease of use, features, integrations, support and value for money.
Let the comparison begin. Don't worry, we'll guide you.
Is Square Retail right for you?
Square for Retail is Square’s dedicated point of sale system (POS) for brick-and-mortar retailers. It is offered alongside several other solutions, including Square for Restaurants and Square Appointments (for appointment-based service businesses). This review will focus on the retail option.
Square for Retail has everything you would expect from a point of sale system, including built-in payment processing, integrations with ecommerce platforms, inventory management, a good (if slightly expensive) selection of hardware options, and a fairly comprehensive analytics dashboard.
Notably, Square offers what is perhaps one of the best free plans on the market, although users will have to pay for hardware and the ability to add additional team members at $35 per location.
Square’s fee structure is also relatively straightforward. If you’re not on the free plan, you will pay $60 for each location (with unlimited staff numbers and permissions) and a transaction fee of 2.5% plus ten cents. This is very competitive when compared to other processors, although you will pay slightly more on the free plan. If you run a larger store, with sales above $250,000 annually, you qualify for a custom pricing package.
On the negative side, we would have liked to have seen more third-party integrations, cheaper hardware (many competitor plans include a free card reader), and deeper levels of functionality in some areas.
All in all, however, Square offers an inexpensive and easy-to-use system for small and medium retailers that don’t want the hassle of having to navigate a more complex app. There is also the option to integrate with Square’s ecommerce platform if you don’t already have an online store.
- Easy and straightforward to use.
- Transparent pricing structure.
- Excellent free plan.
- Lack of integrations.
- Expensive hardware.
- Limited functionality in some areas.
you’re a small or medium-sized retailer looking for a solution that won’t require large amounts of time and resources to set up. You just need to be wary of purchasing Square’s complete hardware package, which costs $799.
Is Lightspeed Retail right for you?
Lightspeed Retail is a cloud-based, operating-system-agnostic point-of-sale system that’s aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. Lightspeed also offers dedicated solutions for restaurants and golf clubs. This review focuses on the point-of-sale system for brick-and-mortar retail outlets.
Overall, we thought that Lightspeed was a solid piece of software. It combines a well-designed (if occasionally clunky) back-office interface with feature-rich item management, excellent customer support, and in-depth analytics.
On the downside, we were dismayed by the lack of integrations with other inventory management and ecommerce platforms. If you’re looking for a solution that will connect seamlessly with your existing online store or inventory tools, then Lightspeed probably won’t meet your needs.
- Complete package combining POS, ecommerce, and inventory management.
- Browser-based and platform-agnostic.
- Advanced analytics and reporting.
- No built-in payment processor.
- Lack of integrations.
- Advanced analytics is only available on premium plans.
you’re a small or medium-sized business looking for a comprehensive, fully-integrated solution that combines inventory management, order fulfilment, and ecommerce.
Ease of Use
Our first comparison criteria, ease of use. Why? Because it’s the most important.
Think about it. You don’t want to invest a lot of your precious time setting up an online store and tweaking the design only to find out that it’s a pain in the butt to manage day to day.
We take a look at how simple the Square Retail and Lightspeed Retail platforms are to run.
How easy is Square Retail to use?
Rated 5/5 for Ease of Use
Square for Retail is very easy to use. Everything from the back-office dashboard to the “smart” store builder is designed to streamline the process of taking and managing payments.
The POS register, which is usually accessed via an iOS tablet or Square’s in-house register, follows a typical block format, with an area that displays individual products and categories, a checkout box, and additional options like discounts, gift cards, popular items, and so on. It’s also possible to use your tablet to receive tips, send email receipts, check inventory at different locations, and so on.
The back-office is also designed in a traditional way, with a left-hand sidebar providing access to dedicated areas for managing sales, analytics and tracking, employee permissions, and more.
What Square Retail customers are saying...
“Square is a great product that is a wonderful tool for small businesses and nonprofits like ours.
“It operates just like your mind works. It is so logical.”
“I liked that it was a convenient way to accept payments anywhere via my mobile cell phone through the Square App.”
How easy is Lightspeed Retail to use?
Rated 3.5/5 for Ease of Use
We found that Lightspeed was very easy to use, despite some user reports that the interface was clunky. It’s not the most intuitive of all the ecommerce solutions we’ve reviewed, but it’s far from complicated.
The iPad app interface follows a typical layout and allows users to create, continue, or cancel sales. In the back-office, a left-hand toolbar provides access to areas for processing sales, managing inventory, running analytics reports, and so on. Adding items is a straightforward process, with options for product variations, discounts, SKUs, etc.
What Lightspeed Retail customers are saying...
"It was relatively easy to set up and I had lots of support!"
"Accessible anywhere. Ecommerce friendly."
"Nice user interface. Good features for a shop that does service work. "
Square Retail is our winner for ease of use
Square Retail Features
Rated 4/5 for Features
Square for Retail has a fairly comprehensive feature-set and comes with everything you would expect from a point-of-sale system. Keep in mind that you will only have access to all features on the $60/month “Plus” package. The free plan provides only limited functionality.
Square back-office is a browser-based app. The register interface is accessed via an iPad or the Square register. Support for Android tablets is not provided, but you can download a feature-limited Android app to take mobile payments.
Checkout features include saved carts, barcode scanning via the iPad camera or Square register, discounts, item searches, and exchanges. Payment functionality, which works on a straightforward, transparent fee structure, comprises next-day transfers, invoices, and both physical and digital gift cards.
You won’t find anything lacking on the inventory management front, either. Tools include unlimited products, low stock alerts, bulk inventory uploads, barcode printing, and more.
If you decide to use Square’s in-house ecommerce solution, you will also have access to a user-friendly store builder, automated inventory syncing, and integration with Instagram.
Finally, analytics reports cover sales, profit margins, vendor sales, and total costs.
Lightspeed Retail Features
Rated 3.5/5 for Features
Lightspeed scored reasonably well in the features category. It has more or less everything you would expect from a point-of-sale system for brick-and-mortar retailers, including sales and customer management, sales histories, analytics, and intuitive back-office and front-end dashboards. Lightspeed also offers dedicated solutions for restaurants and golf clubs, each with an array of specialised tools.
There are a handful of downsides and caveats that sellers should be aware of, however. These include few native integrations for most well-known ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce etc.; somewhat limited support for different types of hardware; and a lack of availability of Lightspeed’s in-house payment processor in some countries, which means that you’ll have to use a third-party service). It’s possible to get around most of these shortcomings with the use of intermediary apps, but this approach may require extra learning time and costs.
Lightspeed is also platform-agnostic and browser-based, meaning that it runs on either Windows or macOS with Chrome or Safari. The sales app is currently only compatible with iPads, however, so this is something to keep in mind if you need to connect a portable POS to your register.
Finally, it’s worth keeping in mind that, while you can purchase the POS system separately, Lightspeed can also be leveraged as an all-in-one solution that allows retailers to take care of their POS, inventory management, analytics, ecommerce store, and even accounting. If this is something you’re looking for, then you should consider one of the higher-tier plans.
Square Retail is our winner for features
Square Retail Integrations
Rated 2.5/5 for Integrations
Integrations represent one area where Square could have performed better. If you’re looking for a POS system that syncs up seamlessly with your existing tech stack, you may be forced to look elsewhere. That said, Square does provide a small package of integrations, so you may find what you’re looking for. A Zapier integration is also available, so you can sync up with most apps, albeit with limited functionality.
Square performs best in the area of accounting and tax, where a large selection of integrations is offered, including Quickbooks, Xero, Shogo, Kahoo, OneUp, ZohoBooks, and more. A small number of connectors with analytics, team management, and restaurant apps are provided.
Square’s online payment processing tool also integrates with most well-known ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, and so on.
Lightspeed Retail Integrations
Rated 2.5/5 for Integrations
Lightspeed didn’t score particularly well when it came to integrations. It’s important to keep in mind that Lightspeed is designed as an all-in-one platform capable of taking care of all aspects of a retailer’s online presence, inventory and fulfilment, and POS. Lightspeed even offers accounting tools. This means that there aren’t many native integrations for other platforms. In most cases, however, it is possible to link to other apps via intermediary integrations or third-party services.
Because Lightspeed doesn’t offer a built-in payment processor in all countries, several third-party options are supported. This is one area, however, where we felt that more could have been offered.
No big-name ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento etc. are supported directly. Tools like Kosmos, nChannel, and DataQlick, however, will allow for syncing with most major solutions, along with many inventory management platforms. Integrations like Sync2Sell also make it possible to connect with some seller marketplaces.
On the accounting front, Lightspeed doesn’t provide native connectors for Quickbooks or Xero. As a workaround, Amaka is supported, which a native integration which retailers can use to link up to most accounting apps.Lightspeed also offers a good selection of business integrations, including MailChimp, Kangaroo Rewards, and LoyalAction.
Finally, Lightspeed offers a handful of connectors for appointment booking, customer service, employee scheduling, payroll, and others.
It's a draw!
How much do they cost?
Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if Square Retail or Lightspeed Retail offers better value for money.
How much does Square Retail cost?
Rated 4/5 for Pricing
Square has a straightforward, competitive pricing structure. We consider the free plan to be one of the best available to small and medium retailers. Three plans are offered: “Free”, “Plus”, and “Premium”.
The free plan is ideal for small shops and comes with a limited number of features. If you want to add extra team members, you will have to pay $35/month per store. The “Plus” plan, which most users will opt for, costs $60/month per location and includes the full feature-set and discounted payment processing fees.
Finally, the “Premium” plan, which is geared towards larger enterprises, operates on a custom pricing model and is available to sellers turning over in excess of $250,000 a month.
How much does Lightspeed Retail cost?
Rated 3.5/5 for Pricing
Lightspeed is reasonably competitively-priced when compared to other similar POS solutions. There are five packages, along with a tailored enterprise option, available to brick-and-mortar retailers. They begin at $79/month and run up to $259/month. There are discounts available for annual payments, and additional registers cost $29/month.
Plans for restaurants and golf clubs are on a custom basis (you’ll need to contact the company) but start at around $70/month with extra costs for add-ons.
The basic POS package provides access to all sales and payment features and includes a free terminal. The big downside is that advanced analytics are only available on the highest-tier plan.
Square Retail is our winner for cost
Help and Support
If things go wrong (and they often do) you need to know someone’s there to help get you back on track. So, how does Square Retail's and Lightspeed Retail's support measure up?
How good is Square Retail support?
Rated 3.5/5 for Help and Support
Square customer support is available via phone, email, live chat, and social media. Users also have access to extensive documentation and an active seller community.
User reviews of the quality and speed of support are mixed, with many users talking positively about helpful staff and fast response times but complaining about receiving generic answers.
There are no custom onboarding packages, although the ease of setting up largely removes the need for them.
How good is Lightspeed Retail support?
Rated 4.5/5 for Help and Support
Lightspeed offers an excellent support package. If you’re looking for a little extra assistance when setting up your POS, then you’ll struggle to find better alternatives. User reviews are largely positive.
24/7 customer service is provided via email and phone, with lines for the UK, US and Asia. Support is free and included on all plans. Lightspeed provides one-on-one training for new users during onboarding, irrespective of the plan tier. This training consists of an online question-and-answer session, assisted software set-up, and optional follow-up.
Lightspeed also offers one of the most comprehensive resource hubs that we’ve seen. It includes extensive documentation, webinars, training courses, a community forum, and more.
Lightspeed Retail is our winner for support
The Bottom Line
The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.
Square Retail: Our Verdict
Overall, we were very impressed with Square. It’s one of the easiest-to-use platforms we reviewed, and the “forever free” plan is arguably the best on the market. Small and medium-sized retailers that are looking for a streamlined, straightforward solution with transparent pricing will find a lot to like. The only real downsides are the limited integrations library and the expensive hardware, although this won’t be a problem if you’re using an iPad.
Larger store-owners will likely require more extensive functionality, especially when it comes to analytics and integrations. Nonetheless, it is still worth getting in touch to discuss options if you’re generating sales of over $250,000 per month.
Lightspeed Retail: Our Verdict
While Lightspeed does have some downsides, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to the right retailers. You should definitely consider it if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that will cover POS, inventory management, ecommerce, and advanced analytics.
If you already have an ecommerce store or inventory management solution, the lack of native integrations may prove a little bothersome. Equally, you should keep in mind that Lightspeed’s system is designed to work optimally with iPads, although it will also run on Windows (assuming that you don’t need a mobile POS). There is currently no Android app.
Lightspeed offers a free trial, so if you’re a small or medium-sized business looking for a straightforward solution, then it’s worth giving a go. Don’t forget about the dedicated restaurant and golf club solutions, either.
Overall, we found Square Retail to be the better Point of Sale platform.
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In this article
- Is it right for you
- How easy is it to use
- Product features
- How much does it cost
- Help and support
- The bottom line