New Version of LightSpeed Announced!

LightSpeed recently sent out an email giving everyone a ‘Sneak Peak’ at it’s new upcoming version of LightSpeed Pro. Here are the highlights and what they mean.

We’ve all been waiting a while for the next big release of LightSpeed Pro. With their acquisition of Merchant OS and it’s subsequent re-branding as LightSpeed Cloud, many of us wondered if they would continue to develop their previous flagship product at all. When asked, they insisted that they would not abandon their current customers, and true to their word, if not a little late, here comes a new version packed with great features.

It’s not clear, at this time, whether or not this will be the big 4.0 version or if this will be presented as a minor version number such as 3.10, but what is clear to us is the promise that having a current subscription will be mandatory. So, if you have allowed your subscription to run out, call our office at 905-337-5923 right away and get your subscription up to date.

The rumour is that LightSpeed will no longer be allowing people to renew their subscriptions without having to pay for the months that they’ve missed (up to the cost of buying a new license). Another rumour states that they will no longer allow the continuation of the old license pricing if you’ve allowed your subscription to lapse… thus forcing you into their new monthly subscription model which, if you do the math, translates into a marked increase in the cost of running LightSpeed over the long term. Either way, you want to renew your subscription… ASAP!

Let’s look at some of the promised features:

Sales Events

The ability to put something ‘on sale’, is something that LightSpeed users have been asking for, for years. We’ve always been able to apply a discount to a line item, or an entire document, but there has never been a way to have a discount be automatically applied. Further more, it seems that this function will allow us to set a date range for the sale price which will automatically revert the product back to it’s regular price when the sale is over. Yay!

Improved Multi-Store Passwords

Anyone that has used Multi Store will most certain include the problem of expired passwords as one of their biggest complaints. Every 90 days, LightSpeed forces you to change your password, and since each store requires a valid login for every other store, this means changing a lot of passwords every 90 days. Furthermore, when the passwords expire, Multi Store simply fails… with no warning… and no indication of what the problem is. In fact, you might not even realize that it has failed at first! This new version claims to have a solution for this and, personally, I can’t wait.

Advanced Reporting Uploader

LightSpeed recently released their own web-based reporting system called, Advanced Reporting. This is similar, in concept to my kgSTATS.com system in that it uses the LightSpeed API to capture data. With this new version of LightSpeed, it looks like they’ve given themselves a bit of an edge by building in a data uploader instead of having to open up a port on your firewall for their system, like mine, to reach in and grab data. It would be very nice if they built this to allow the data to be uploaded to any system. Let’s hope that is the case.

LightSpeed API Developers get access to Purchasing

The LightSpeed API hasn’t seen any major improvement since it’s inception more than two years ago. With no access to Purchase Orders, our hands have been tied as developers who wanted to do something with this data. We’re very excited about this but I fear that without the ability to also create matrix products with new sizes and colours that are not already defined, the hope of importing purchase orders full of next season’s new products will be dashed. Let’s see how it goes.

LightSpeed Pro Mobile gets the ability to process Cash Payments

That’s right… not every customer wants to use a credit card… and LightSpeed Pro Mobile should be able to handle that without have to ‘hand off’ the sale to another computer at your front counter. Let’s hope that this also allows us to accept other payment methods as well… such as debit card payments taken on an external, non-integrated terminal.

Goodbye iStats!

They also sent out a warning to current LightSpeed Pro users, about upgrading to Yosemite (see my previous post), in which they announced some other major changes. It’s unclear if this will be a part of the new version mentioned above or if this will be a minor version release before that. Either way, iStats is toast and no one over here is shedding any tears about it.

We are also discontinuing iStats in favour of the new Advanced Reporting. We’ve added a zero-configuration uploader to this LightSpeed Pro update to ensure that you can get started easily. Advanced Reporting offers several advantages over iStats: the data it offers is deeper and more powerful, it works from any web browser, and it also comes with a great free Mobile Dashboard app for your iPhone. Renew your maintenance plan today to get Advanced Reporting for free.

On the other hand, iStats was free and included with every LightSpeed system. Advance Reporting won’t be free… and although they mention that the Mobile Dashboard app for your iPhone is free, I’m pretty sure that it won’t work unless you pay for Advanced Reporting.

What seems very clear to me is that the world of LightSpeed is not as simple as their software is to use and if it takes an expert to help you make sense of it all, find a local reseller/consultant such as myself and call them up. You’ll be glad you did.