February 14, 2023
Written by DigiFist

Shopify vs Lightspeed: Full Comparison

Shopify and Lightspeed are well-known e-commerce and point-of-sale (POS) platforms. Shopify is a complete commerce solution that lets you sell on the web, mobile, social media, online marketplaces, bricks and mortar stores and pop-ups. Shopify is used by more than 1.75 million businesses in 175 countries around the world. Lightspeed is a POS and e-commerce software provider based in Montreal, Canada. Founded in 2005, more than 45,000 businesses process over $17 billion in transactions annually using Lightspeed.

This article will compare both Shopify vs Lightspeed e-commerce platforms and Shopify vs Lightspeed POS systems. We will start by looking at Shopify vs Lightspeed as an e-commerce solution.

Shopify vs Lightspeed E-commerce

Shopify and Lightspeed have some similarities: They are fully hosted, all-in-one platforms that let you sell online and offline through a variety of channels including web, social, mobile and in-person using their POS systems. Both are configured for B2C and B2B commerce and international selling. Shopify and Lightspeed are good choices for beginners as they are easy to use.

Where the platforms differ greatly is in the origin: Shopify was purpose-built to be an all-in-one, complete commerce platform. Lightspeed was originally designed as an e-commerce plug-in for content platforms like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace. These origin stories play an important role in how the platforms have developed.

Let’s examine 5 differences between Shopify and Lightspeed and also look at pricing plans to help you decide which one is the best for your business.

1. E-commerce Themes and Design Capability

Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the world and is much more comprehensive and customizable than Lightspeed e-commerce. You don’t need to be a designer or developer to build a Shopify store. Simply pick a theme, customize the look of your store with the online store builder, and add features and additional functionality with apps, resulting in a highly sophisticated e-commerce experience that you can scale as your business grows. You can use your domain name and connect it to Shopify from your store admin panel. If you have a large e-commerce site that needs more customization, contact Digifist, a Shopify Plus agency.

Lightspeed e-commerce was originally developed as a widget to add e-commerce functionality to existing content platforms. You can build a full e-commerce store with Lightspeed but sites are less sophisticated and not as customizable compared to Shopify. Lightspeed comes with a theme that integrates with your existing site, adopting its colours, and overall look and feel. You can customize simple, predetermined widgets on your store front, such as adding or hiding different blocks like “About us”, "Customer Feedback" or “Contact Details”, changing fonts, and adding or hiding buttons. To adjust the store design you will need to modify the CSS, which means you have to know how to work with code or hire a developer to do the work.

2. E-Commerce Product Functionality

Shopify and Lightspeed offer a comprehensive suite of product functionality tools to manage everything from product inventory to sales and secure checkout on your e-commerce store. When looking at production functionality Shopify is the more feature-rich option and is easier to use than Lightspeed.

Shopify has no product limits with any of its plans. Lightspeed restricts the number of products you can add to your store. The free plan gives you a maximum of 10, while the Venture plan allows 100. Only the Unlimited plan removes product limits, but it is cost-prohibitive at $99.00 a month. The Basic Shopify plan is $29.00 a month, making Shopify the better choice if you have a store with multiple products or one that you plan to scale and diversify.

You can create product categories with Shopify and Lightspeed, but it is simpler with Shopify. With Shopify, you can set selection conditions to automatically include matching products. You can also manually create collections. With Lightspeed, you create smart categories with criteria. This is a good feature to have if you have a store with many products, but it is harder to implement than on Shopify.

Lightspeed has no product option limits as part of its default setting, offering an unlimited number regardless of the plan you choose. Shopify’s default setting allows you to have three options for each product you sell. You can add variants using metafields which can be accessed via your Shopify admin settings.

When looking at payment gateways, both Shopify and Lightspeed are great choices. Lightspeed offers more than 70 payment gateways, while Shopify boasts over 100 payment providers around the globe, including its product Shopify Payments, which removes third-party transaction fees for orders processed through Shopify Payments, Shop Pay, Shop Pay Installments, and Paypal Express.

3. Selling Online in Multiple Currencies

You can build global partnerships and sell internationally with both Shopify and Lightspeed in different ways. As with many other platform features, Shopify is better than Lightspeed for selling in multiple currencies.

Shopify has developed and built Shopify Markets to make selling internationally easy, Shopify Markets lets you choose the areas around the world you want to sell in, then helps you set up, launch, optimize, manage, and grow your international business. Customers can view prices, pay for their orders, and receive refunds all in their local currency. In addition, if you are a Shopify Plus merchant, you have access to a feature that will automatically adjust the currency on your site for the IP address of the website browser. If you are not a Plus merchant, there are third-party apps that will do the same thing.

To sell internationally with Lightspeed you will need to download the Currency Converter or Auto Currency Switcher app so customers can see prices in their native currency based on their browsing location. The monthly cost for the app will be added to your base subscription price. Lightspeed does not currently support checkout in all currencies. This means that while a customer can view the cost of a product in their native currency they might not be able to pay with it, causing frustration, a poor customer experience and lost sales.

4. E-Commerce Marketing Tools

Shopify has an exhaustive list of marketing and customer engagement tools, including a professional blogging template, and the ability to create custom email campaigns. This will help you advertise effectively and reach your target audience, even if you don’t have a background in marketing. You also have access to powerful SEO tools to edit title tags, product details and meta descriptions on your site, and can create product ads on social sites like Facebook.

Lightspeed offers options for marketing and SEO but they are not as versatile or well-developed as Shopify. You can create email campaigns but there is no blog template, which is a missed opportunity to engage customers. As with Shopify, you can create ads to deploy on sites like Google and Facebook and review data from your marketing channels in a single dashboard. SEO tools are basic but can be enhanced by adding a plug-in like Yoast or integrating the store with SEO-friendly content platforms like WordPress and Squarespace.

5. Dropshipping

Shopify has invested considerable resources to provide merchants and customers with a seamless, easy-to-use dropshipping experience with more than 280 dropshipping apps and integrations. You can even access a guide on product trends and how to find products to sell online to help you build your perfect store.

Lightspeed can be used for dropshipping, but is far more limited, supporting only 12 dropshipping integrations, including Printful, Sprocket and Alibaba. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to manage time and money, dropshipping with Shopify is your better choice.

Shopify vs Lightspeed Ecommerce Pricing

Shopify offers 3 pricing tiers and Shopify Plus:

  • Basic Shopify Plan at $29 per month: This plan is recommended for new e-commerce businesses that may have occasional in-person sales.
  • Shopify Plan at $79.00 per month: This is designed for growing businesses selling online or in person
  • Advanced Shopify Plan at $299 per month: This plan is recommended for businesses that are scaling and need advanced reporting.
  • Shopify Plus starts from $2000 - This is Shopify’s enterprise commerce platform and is a great choice for large businesses selling B2B or B2C online and in person. Pricing starts at $2000 a month with the total cost based on overall sales volume. For more information about Plus pricing, contact DigiFist, a Shopify Plus agency.

Lightspeed has 4 plans, including a free plan which allows you to create a one-page e-commerce website with up to 2 product categories and 10 products. The other plans are:

  • Venture at $19 per month: Venture builds on the Free plan, offering additional features like selling on Facebook and Instagram, granting access to the App Market and upping your product availability from 10 to 100 products.
  • Business at $39 per month: This plan gives you everything in Venture plus features like 2 staff accounts, an abandoned cart saver, and the option to sell up to 2500 products.
  • Unlimited at $99 per month: This is Lightspeed’s largest plan and the only one that offers unlimited products. With Unlimited, you get everything in the Business plan plus additional features like POS integration and the ability to sell via branded mobile apps

Shopify POS vs Lightspeed POS

Shopify’s POS system was launched in 2013 and has had many iterations to integrate offline and online sales, orders, products and payments. You need a Shopify plan to use Shopify POS: Your Shopify e-commerce store is where you will manage customers, inventory, and account details. The Shopify POS app is used for customer-facing activities and in-store settings.

Lightspeed is a cloud-based POS solution geared toward retailers and hospitality. You can sync it with the Lightspeed e-commerce platform, giving you the ability to manage in-store and online inventory, and analyze multi-channel sales data.

Is Lightspeed better than Shopify?

Both Shopify and Lightspeed are two of the best POS systems on the market with an impressive list of features and excellent inventory controls. As a general rule, if your business is primarily e-commerce based, Shopify POS is recommended as it’s an e-commerce-first solution and is backed by the Shopify e-commerce platform which is more powerful and robust than Lightspeed e-commerce.

Let’s compare the core features of Shopify vs Lightspeed POS to help you choose the one that’s best for your business. We’ll look at how they stack up for inventory management, hardware and sales tools, and also review pricing plans for both POS systems.

1. POS Inventory Management

Both Shopify and Lightspeed POS systems have robust inventory management features that help you manage your business. You can set up and track inventory across multiple locations, import and export, transfer between locations, and change prices in bulk. Lightspeed’s inventory management system is slightly more developed, but Shopify has a powerful inventory location tool which makes it the better overall choice for inventory management.

Shopify’s inventory location tool lets you assign inventory to multiple locations like retail stores, warehouses and pop-up shops. You can prioritize which location you want to fulfill online orders first or fulfill an order based on whichever location is closest. You can also view your inventory history for both products and variants. By comparison, Lightspeed POS only allows one retail location unless you upgrade to a more expensive plan. Further, you don’t have the option to choose your location for inventory fulfillment. Online sales can only be set up to pull inventory from a primary location, meaning you could oversell even if other locations have stock.

2. POS Hardware

When comparing Shopify vs Lightspeed POS hardware, Shopify comes out on top. Shopify has more hardware options than Lightspeed and discloses prices for its hardware upfront. Lightspeed lists what hardware they offer but does not disclose the price. This is important because being able to plan and budget is essential to managing a business. Shopify also offers unlimited registers at each location. Lightspeed charges a fee for each extra register you use.

Shopify POS retail kit has the following products. All hardware comes with a 1-year warranty for Shopify POS Lite plans, and a 2-year warranty for POS Pro plans:

  • Tap & Chip card reader – $49
  • Shopify Dock for Tap & Chip reader – $39
  • Shopify Retail Stand for iPad 10.2”/ Air 10.5” – $149
  • Shopify Retail Stand for iPad 9.7” – $149
  • Shopify Retail Kit 10.2”/ Air 10.5” – $299
  • Shopify Casual Kit – $99
  • Shopify Mini Dock Cable – $9
  • Shopify Mounting Kit – $9
  • Barcode scanners - $299-$329
  • Label printers $199 - $499 (for wireless until)
  • Receipt printers $289-$359
  • Cash drawer $139
  • 10 lbs shipping scale - $49
  • 100 lbs shipping scale - $89

Lightspeed’s POS hardware kit is available for iPad and desktop. The iPad POS hardware kit includes:

  • LAN receipt printer
  • Cash drawer
  • Bluetooth barcode scanner
  • Lightspeed-branded iPad stand
  • Receipt paper
  • You provide the iPad

Lightspeed’s desktop hardware kit includes:

  • USB receipt printer
  • Cash drawer
  • USB barcode scanner

If you don’t need a Lightspeed POS hardware bundle, you can purchase the following pieces of equipment individually:

  • Zebra ZD410 label printer
  • Cash drawer
  • Bluetooth barcode scanner
  • USB barcode scanner
  • Epson TM-M30 printer
  • Mobile Tap
  • WisePOS E
  • Proper Stand
  • WisePad3

3. POS Sales Tools

Shopify and Lightspeed POS have similarities when it comes to sales tools: They are both designed to support e-commerce and in-store sales, accept debit, credit, cash, cheques and gift card payment transactions, and give you the ability to sell subscriptions for products and services.

Where Shopify POS has the edge over Lightspeed POS is when it comes to admin management. Shopify integrates inventory, sales and expenses across all of your sales channels in a single admin platform, letting you view activity for your entire business in one place. Lightspeed is more complicated and less user-friendly because e-commerce and in-store are separated into different admins, meaning you need to sync the two to get a complete picture of the health of your business.

Additionally, with Shopify sales tools you can add an unlimited number of products to your POS and Shopify e-commerce store. Lightspeed limits your products and includes variants in your product limits. The customer experience is also platform agnostic with Shopify POS. Customers can start an order in-store and complete it online. This can help with conversion as it gives customers the time to decide on their purchase without abandoning their cart. This powerful feature isn’t offered on Lightspeed.

4. POS Pricing

Price is an important factor when choosing the best POS system for your business. When comparing Shopify vs Lightspeed which is the better value? Shopify POS offers 2 plans and Lightspeed POS offers 4. At first glance, Shopify and Lightspeed pricing seems comparable. However, when examining what comes with the individual plans it’s clear that Shopify POS is better value for money. Shopify comes with perks like an unlimited number of registers. Lightspeed charges for each additional register. Shopify POS plans are also more feature rich. The base plan, Shopify POS Lite, includes e-commerce, POS, payments, and the ability to integrate with accounting and loyalty programs. This is an upgraded, more expensive plan on Lightspeed.

Let’s examine the plans in detail:

Shopify has 2 plans to choose from, Shopify POS Lite, and Shopify POS Pro

1. Shopify Lite: Shopify POS Lite is included at no additional charge with all Shopify Plans. POS Lite features include in-person credit card rates starting at 2.4% + 0 cents, mobile POS, order and product management, customer profiles, as well as additional features like customizable checkouts, automatic tax calculation, unlimited products and variants, multi-location inventory, customer loyalty, and analytics.

2. Shopify POS Pro: Shopify POS Pro is free for all Shopify Plus merchants. If you are not a Plus merchant, the cost is your Shopify plan + $89.00 a month per location. Shopify POS Pro includes all the Shopify POS Lite features as well as unlimited store staff, smart inventory management, omnichannel selling features, unlimited registers, staff roles and permissions and in-store analytics. Shopify POS Pro also comes with an impressive list of additional features like automatic discounts both in-person or online, the ability to buy online and pick up in store, and the option for customers to buy in-store and have the merchandise shipped to their homes.

Lightspeed offers 4 POS plans: Lean, Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise.

1. Lean: The Lean plan costs $89.00 per month and includes access to the Lightspeed POS system and payment processing services. Lightspeed Payments charges 2.6% + 10 cents for card-present transactions, while card-not-present transactions will cost 2.6% + 30 cents. The Lean plan does not give you access to Lightspeed e-commerce or the ability to connect to an accounting platform. There are also no customer loyalty and sales analytics features.

2. Standard: The Standard plan costs $149.00 per month and gives you access to sell online with Lightspeed e-commerce. You can also connect a third-party accounting provider to your store. Supported integrations include Omniboost, QuickBooks, Xero, and Sage.

3. Advanced: The Advanced plan costs $269.00 per month and includes all the features of the Standard plan plus access to the customer loyalty program, a built-in email campaign builder, and a text and push notification sender.

4. Enterprise: Lightspeed’s biggest plan is the Enterprise plan. It is designed for enterprise-level businesses and is custom priced. This plan includes everything in the Advances plan plus personalized onboarding and launch services, consultation services, a dedicated support team, API consultation, preferred payment rates, and advanced store analytics.

Migrating from Lightspeed to Shopify

Shopify can integrate with Lightspeed via third-party integrations, but using Shopify for both your website and POS is recommended to unify your in-store and online business. This can help you save time on inventory, increase sales and provide a seamless customer experience.

If you're using Lightspeed Retail or Lightspeed e-commerce you can migrate your products to Shopify. You need to export your data from Lightspeed, and then you can import it to Shopify using the Store Importer app.

If you need help to migrate and launch your store quickly from Lightspeed to Shopify contact our expert team. We are Shopify Plus experts and can help you build the store of your dreams.