The integration success with Lightspeed Retail point-of-sale for your new online shopping system can be overwhelming.
We wrote this blog because we solved our customer’s issues, but this required a huge amount of planning and a lot of testing on various products that are on the market.
First of all, we get it! Having an Apple-based POS system is really cool, and there is a great relief for those merchants that feel they will be less vulnerable to attacks and viruses with the Mac products and fewer software updates that could put the customer on hold at checkout. There is nothing that will change the owner’s mind about these issues.
We need to point out that using Lightspeed as your source feed into your website takes some real thought about the process because when you hit the wall in putting your system together, it becomes a big deal that can take you right back to where you started in your project.
The three items to focus in on are: (1) the rich text editor in the Lightspeed Retail POS that should automatically feed into the website, (2) the use of product photos that are loaded into Lightspeed and presented on the website, and (3) the functionality in checking stock and pulling inventory from multiple locations.
If your organization has a single location or warehouse and you are selling products that require one product image, then, by all means, do the integration all in Lightspeed. It will not be that technically difficult to put the system together. If you can manage a WordPress site, then you can do put a lightspeed site together.
If your scope has more detail than the single-store location, we suggest finding a programmer to review your plans. Spending $1,000 to $3,000 to have someone advise you on your website plan is a minimal cost versus having to start all over again.
If you are going to try putting a website together in Lightspeed, make sure you ask for extra demo time to test the systems and play around with the product text, product descriptions, photos, shopping cart, shipping costs, styling and product option dropdowns. Spend time properly reviewing your products’ categories that will be used in developing the website menu. Lightspeed offers great videos on this subject. Also, ask them about talking to other merchants that have built their own website.
Put this in your implementation plan. Whatever time you estimate in doing the work in the loading of images into the website or Lightspeed, double it or triple it. It is not that Lightspeed is slow but if you are going to have a group of images for each product variation then that turns into a lot of images. Colors, styles, sizes, pricing, features and another can blowup what time is needed to upload images for each product variation.
Cool Website Options Causes Complex Coding Development
It was Business Development Planner’s project with a large, super-sports soccer store called “SoccerWorld” with three different locations throughout lower Michigan that it became a real problem in what to do.
Each store had their own inventory for walk-ins and not all locations had the same products, but everything needed to be on the website for purchase. The struggle was having hundreds and hundreds of shoes from Nike, Adidas, Puma and New Balance with each product requiring six or more images for each variation of shoes and a robust set of rich text.
Another required feature was to take place when the customer selects a shoe in a specific style or color. SoccerWorld wanted all shoes that matched this criterion to show up at the bottom of the page–similar to Amazon.
The final kicker in developing the integration outside of Lightspeed was inventory handing. SoccerWorld wanted all products listed from all locations into the website inventory. Should the customer select and purchase multiple products that are stocked throughout the organization, the system must prioritize each store on where it will pull from first, and then from secondary locations. Once processed, decrement Lightspeed inventory, then produce a stock-pull list, and notify each location if a product is Out-Of-Stock.
Based on the products selected, the system must indicate if the customer can immediately pick-up the products from the selected store or calculate the time and date for future pick-up or process the shipment based on multiple shipping options.
To be fair with Lightspeed, they offer a large list of APIs that we could have used to build up a website to handle these issues and they work great.
In Addition, there are other companies that also offer these solutions, but the monthly costs were too costly for SoccerWorld and this time.
Our solution was a Woocommerce plugin that can be plugged directly into WordPress. The price wasn’t significant at all and it was a one-time price of around $149. We made changes to get the plugin code to work the way the customer wanted the system to work. The code was well developed and easy to follow. Actually, the Woocommerce plugin is based on the Lightspeed APIs.
You can find this plugin at Lightspeed Woocommerce POS Integration.
Here is the items that we changed to this plug-in.
1) We changed the code to look at the inventory from all the Lightspeed locations to populate the order.
2) After the purchase, the system would decrement the inventory from the selected location in Lightspeed and generate a product pull-from-stock list for each location.
3) We disabled some of the automatic image synching from Lightspeed to the website so that all the product variation images would only be updated from the website.
4) We looped through all inventory to keep the synching in balance so that product variation options like sizes that are out of stock would not show up in drop downs.
Finally, once you make these changes and normalize the data taxonomies with other Woocommerce plugins, there is no limit to what can be done with the other Woocommerce’s universe of plugins and Lightspeed.
The customer loves the lower cost solution and the system works without issue.
If you would like help with your integration from Lightspeed, just give us a call and we can talk.