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chma reviewed on 19 Jun 2009
Lightspeed was a disaster for our retail business.
I've never met a point of sale program that was so difficult to use and so easy to make mistakes with. My true review would be thousands of words long to list all of the problems we had with this program. The short version: It is far to easy for people to make mistakes simply ringing up sales. Ringing up customers takes twice as long as other programs - many mouse clicks needed, no shortcut key for quantity (this was a huge time killer for us as customers buy a lot of little items at a time, with different quantities for each), I was surprised to have no way to hold receipts, no place to enter a coupon to discount the whole sale (must discount a specific item which affects your margins in reports, so we had to create a product called coupon and charge a negative quantity for it). Even the payment screen takes so many unnecessary steps - click here, select that, swipe card, move cursor to button to tell it to process the card, click process, click OK to acknowledge swipe was successful, then click print, then tell it how many copies, then click print again, etc. Streamline this process please! It's so easy to mis-swipe a credit card and then print out a complete receipt, giving you the illusion that someone has paid, but looking at the bottom it says paid zero. It's very easy to swipe a card twice for the same transaction - no warning given that you've already charged a customer for this sale. Very difficult to refund a customer back to their credit card. Even watched the tutorial while the poor customer stood there and was no help with our problem. If you scan a UPC that's not in the system it doesn't warn you, it just puts nothing on the receipt, so when ringing up multiple items it's super easy to miss an item. If you click save before going to payment screen, the system removes all the items on that receipt from inventory (instead of removing them when sale is complete). If a customer changes their mind on an item before paying it is a very difficult process to put the item back into inventory and very easy for inventory numbers to be inaccurate. They need to make payment screens much more streamlined and help us to make sure it's not so easy for employees to make mistakes when ringing people up. We lost a lot of money in inventory sent out the door. We spent hours renaming all of our 3000 or so inventory items to make them searchable in the invoice screen (invoice screen only searches for product description, so had to add the manufacturer, color size, etc to every product description in case it had to be searched for when ringing up.)
Ordering process was also a nightmare - We do loads of ordering every day from over 300 vendors, 5 or 6 of which are big distributors that we order from - each carry up to 600 items that we have to choose from. I have to be able to see what's available from each and choose from that list - the only way to do that is to open products, view the ones where my distributor is the supplier, then drag items into an open PO. Very difficult to fit both of these windows onto the same screen, so lots of switching back and forth.Very very easy to make mistakes (carefully dragging an item down frequently resulted in the wrong item showing up! The one I dragged wasn't the one that made it onto the order, so have to drag, click on the PO window to make sure the right item made it on, then mouse click the quantity to change it, go back to the product screen, etc. With my old 6 year old software it took us about 45 minutes to order from one of those distributors. With lightspeed it was an hour and a half. With my new Quickbooks point of sale program, I can pull up a screen that has an empty row next to my inventory numbers for that distributor, I type in the quantities using my down arrow and my quantitiy shortcut key, and click enter at the end, which populates a PO with everything I chose. Ordering now takes me about 15 minutes. Receiving a PO is overly complicated as well, with too many clicks and saves, no place to put very simple things like freight charges, or discounts from a supplier (again we had to create new products called freight and supplier discounts, and then the system is fussy about the fact that they have no product codes or suppliers for freight, which caused us to set up a new vendors for it, etc. Am I the only retailer that has to pay freight for a delivery?) Changing a price as you receive an item doesn't update the costs for that product, so separate cost adjustments have to be made for each item, etc. Time wasters.
Learning lightspeed is very difficult process. It's surprisingly non-intuitive, especially for a MAC product. The tutorials are very incomplete, support takes 24 hours to get back to you, and the solutions they suggest invariably cause new problems. It's a frustrating, time wasting, bloated piece of software that seems like no one ever tried to use it in a retail situation before putting it on the market. It can do so many things, but for a retail situation where we essentially just need a program to help us keep track of inventory, ring up and keep track of customers easily, and order and receive products quickly. We did almost 1000 sales items in the first few weeks, and still we felt like it was getting no easier. I think Lightspeed has a lot of work to do to make this program fit what you think a Mac program should be - easy to use, easy to learn. This is neither, and it costs a bundle.
[Version 2.8.6]

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