Montreal’s Lightspeed, the well-known point-of-sale (POS) platform for retailers and restaurateurs, is about to unleash full service to online retailers through the launch of a new eCommerce platform, Lightspeed eCom.
The company made the announcement today after it acquired Amsterdam-based company SEOshop, the fastest growing eCommerce platform in Europe with 1900 percent growth over the past five years. SEOshop currently serves more than 8,000 online merchants including Philips Lighting, National Geographic Netherlands and the Van Gogh Museum.
Lightspeed CEO Dax Dasilva alluded to his company’s huge $80 million funding raise in September, which allowed the company to answer a big need.
“One of the things that we talked about when we got funding was we wanted to go much further with ecommerce,” Dasilva told MTLinTech. “Our retail and restaurant customers both wanted to have a strong online presence, so that was one of the usages of the fund. The other was international expansion, so this acquisition ticks both boxes.”
Lightspeed initially launched as a better POS system for offline retail and restaurant businesses in 2005, first on the Mac and eventually heavily focusing on the iPad once it came out in 2011. It gave clients a POS with the same back-office tools used by big retail in a user-friendly, mobile package. “We embraced using a combonation of desktop computers and mobile devices such as iPhones, iPods and iPads to really make the in-restaurant experience great,” said Dasilva.
But now with the industry rapidly digitizing, online-only merchant demand was an obvious goal for the company. The company called Lightspeed eCom “now the most robust, all-in-one eCommerce solution on the market for independent retailers.”
The company now serves 26,000 businesses in more than 100 countries, processing US $11 billion in annual transactions.
Lightspeed will “definitely compete for certain customers” with Ottawa-based eCommerce platform Shopify, said Dasilva, but his customers are typically mid-market customers with more complexity to their inventory.
Lightspeed’s online customers do around US $50,000 in revenue while Shopify’s will do an average of $25,000, said the CEO. But Lightspeed’s average retail customer with a physical store does a whopping $600,000 a year, “so we’re dealing with bigger businesses and they’re selling more inventory.”
The reason people would choose Lightspeed is it has all the tools to manage complex inventories in-store: managing all the customer relationships, the purchasing histories, all of the different elements of running a retail store. And of course now when you go online you want to have an eCom system that’s going to have all of the depth that is mirrored in your retail store in a single view.
Bringing SEOshop into the conversation gives Lightspeed a huge boost in scaling globally, while its current and future store owners just got the ability to sell smarter regardless of where their customers are shopping. It also boosts the amount of businesses now using Lightspeed all around the world, with the company’s user count now at 8,000 post-acquisition.
As part of the deal, SEOshop CEO Ruud Stelder will join the Lightspeed leadership team as Director of Global eCommerce Revenue, and CTO Dennis Cuijpers will become Lightspeed’s Director of eCommerce Development and Architecture.
Dasilva’s plan now revolves around strengthening its online eCom platform for all its customers in North America and Europe.
“We’d like to integrate our existing offline products really, really tightly with Lightspeed eCom because that’s what our customers have been really asking for,” said Dasilva. “They’ve been asking for more features selling online and that’s going to be a big focus over the next few years.”
There’s also lots of room for headcount growth too, said the CEO. The company recently moved into the historic Gare Viger building, where it occupies several floors that it’ll gradually move into over the next several years. Dasilva said Lightspeed has big expansion plans in Montreal, which includes 10 new hires a month, as well as expansion in all nine of its other offices around the world.