In a retail climate that challenges independent retailers to grapple with the same technology requirements and customer expectations facing national chains, Montreal-based Lightspeed says its e-commerce and point of sale platform aimed at small and medium brick-and-mortar merchants is now processing $10 billion in annual transactions and reports a 123 percent increase in year-over-year bookings for its subscription-based services.
Like Shopify, a Canadian retail technology company that closed its initial public offering at the end of May and reported $3.8 billion in transactions in 2014 from a customer base now numbering 162,000 merchants, Lightspeed offers cloud-based software that integrates online and in-store sales, inventory management and customer data. The company says the 24,000 merchants using its platform in 100 countries process an annual average of $600,000. They include DASH, Frank & Oak, Cynthia Rowley, Kinsley, Marie St. Pierre, Seedstore and Jean Shop.
Independent retailers with physical stores are the company’s bread and butter, even as e-commerce growth outpaces total retail sales both in the U.S. and abroad, a trend expected to continue through 2018, according to eMarketer data.
That’s because “the brand connection is best made in-store,” said Lightspeed founder and chief executive officer Dax Dasilva. For evidence, he pointed to online-first brands such as Bonobos and Warby Parker, which have followed initial visibility and growth online with physical presences that allow customers to see and purchase products in person.
Dasilva is positioning his company not only as a cloud tool for brand consistency and omnichannel selling, but also a strategy for keeping pace with trends in payment and online security. In the run-up to an October deadline for retailer compliance with new chip-based EMV credit card technology, conceived on the part of credit issuers as a way to thwart breaches that have affected retailers from Goodwill to Target and Neiman Marcus in recent years, merchants are left to adopt new hardware capable of reading the cards or face liability for fraudulent transactions. At the same time, mobile checkout options such as Apple Pay are increasing in popularity. Lightspeed is hoping its ability to handle both will offer dual appeal to merchants.
“Retail is going through a major transformation. Retailers have to become digital in the store and online,” Dasilva said.