It’s been a year since Lightspeed launched in the UK. What are some of your thoughts on coming this far so far?
I am incredibly proud of what we have managed to achieve in such a short time. Whichever market we operate in, our purpose has always been to provide independent businesses with the tools they need to compete and thrive. I feel like this is particularly important in the UK, where the changing economic climate and increasing difficulty to survive on the British high street can be disheartening for business owners. However, working with independent UK businesses, I am in awe of how passionate, resilient and nimble local SMEs are and I love seeing the creative ways they are finding to stand out and grow their businesses.
How much has changed in the UK since it was launched?
We have seen some changes in the UK market, and Brexit has been the obvious influencer here. Although that may cause some uncertainty for businesses at the moment, I do think the flexibility and adaptability characteristic of UK independent businesses puts them in the best position to withstand change and flourish in any environment.
Can you name some of your clients?
We work with over 45,000 independents around the world, and they span across a variety of sectors in the retail and hospitality industry. Our clients cover everything from apparel and beauty to bikes and technology. Some of our UK clients include KNOMO, Mortar & Milk, Evans and Peel, the Drone Factory, Eizenstein, Mr Start and London Bicycle Workshop.
How do they use Lightspeed’s technology and services?
We like to keep our ear to the ground when it comes to what our customers really need and want. Our aim is to help them run their business as efficiently and effectively as possible. Lightspeed’s cloud-based systems can become virtual business assistants, and customers use them to manage a range of operations, including managing inventory, ordering stock and tracking profits and expenditure. Our omnichannel product allows them to have the best in-store EPOS and online platform where inventory and customer data is synced across.
In what ways does it impact customers and customer experience?
The ability to integrate online and offline makes all the difference to how businesses interact with customers. It means that your brand remains consistent regardless of time or location, and clients can expect to receive the same quality of service that will keep them coming back and telling their friends.
What do you see in the future of Lightspeed in the UK?
We hope to continue helping independent companies manage their business and make them a success. Through our partnership with SaveTheHighStreet we have found that over a third of SMEs are still using pen and paper to manage their business. We are committed to help independent businesses use EPOS systems to make it easier for them to manage their company. We are also seeing more interest in omnichannel and we expect this to continue to grow as more retailers have both online and brick and mortar stores.
How about the world?
We’re living in a time of change which comes with its challenges, but I believe that there will always be a place for independent business owners on our high streets. There continues to be a lot of talk about the rise of the online store and services but in the future the importance of the brick and mortar store will be paramount.
What has been the most challenging aspect of launching in the UK?
Every market is different and each industry comes with its own challenges and opportunities. Our approach is never one size fits all, so it was imperative to take the time and understand the needs of UK independents and decide where our technology can make the most difference. Since we opened our office, we are much better acquainted with the pressures the UK market faces, and our aim going forward is to use our expertise to predict and prepare for the next big thing in tech that will benefit independents.
The most rewarding?
Without stating the obvious, it is being able to see your customers grow and prosper. When customers tell me the impact Lightspeed has had on their business it means the world to me as that is exactly why I set Lightspeed up.
How is Lightspeed addressing some of the challenges facing the UK high street as a whole?
We want to give independent retailers the platform to compete against the larger chains. We’re living in an ever increasing, competitive market and SMEs won’t always be able to compete on price, so we’re giving them the tools they need to create the best customer experience to build loyalty and recommendations.
Can you talk about any other projects that you’re working on at the moment?
We are always talking to customers to find out what would help them run their business and we do have something coming up that will give SMEs even more insight into their company. This new product will allow them to get a comprehensive look into their business data, allowing them to compare, look at trends, and gain key insights to make smarter business decisions.