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Millions love their iPods or iPads for ease of use and visual control. Wondering why POS tools weren’t available on an Apple platform, Dax DaSilva created LightSpeed, a suite of simple-to-use retail tools that can help retailers manage their business.

“We wanted to level the playing field in retail,” says DaSilva, founder and CEO of Montreal-based Xsilva Systems. “Why should retail tools be big and complicated?” Or exclusively focused on large chains: His target customers are single-stores, small- to medium-sized chains and pure-play e-tailers. “Every store should have access to this, not just chains with hundreds of sites.”

With LightSpeed’s mobile option, retailers can go out and “meet” their customers, DaSilva says. Sales personnel equipped with a mobile, wireless POS can serve shoppers anywhere in a store. The hardware has an iPod feel to it and includes a credit card scanner. When customers make a selection, there is no waiting in line — personnel can scan the item and credit card to complete the transaction. For customers paying with cash, invoices are ready at the register for payment.

More sales can be closed with the LightSpeed system, DaSilva says, because the technology allows deals to be sealed when interest is highest. He says LightSpeed is a good fit for clothing stores, as well as “lifestyle” outlets like bike or skateboard merchants.

Selling at LightSpeed
New York-based Jean Shop Mfg. is known for authentic vintage-quality blue jeans for men and women; the line includes distressed leather jackets and shirts, tees, jewelry and men’s footwear.

Jean Shop chose LightSpeed Mobile in 2009 “because it was an effective and inexpensive way to provide even better customer service,” says co-founder Eric Goldstein. “It was an easy way to add another POS system linking directly to our database.” It only takes one sale to learn the system, he adds, noting that the similarity of its operating system to iTunes makes it easier to train employees.

With LightSpeed, Jean Shop is able to link inventory at store locations and its warehouse, making it easy for all employees to access the database. “We are able to keep a tighter control over our inventory,” Goldstein says, “and transfer seamlessly, whether for a specific customer or for store inventory purposes.” LightSpeed’s reporting features make restocking, payroll and general sales analysis quick and accurate, he says.

In addition to the mobile POS option, LightSpeed offers a suite of tools for a complete store system, including a back-office browser to simplify purchasing and inventory management, a touchscreen POS at the front counter and an integrated web store for selling online. Stores are equipped with a LightSpeed server, with several Macs connected to the POS.

The LightSpeed portfolio includes tools for quoting, ordering and invoicing, as well as label and barcode printing, reporting and inventory management. Other options include customer profiling and tracking, credit card processing, gift cards, multi-store lookups and stock transfers.
The LightSpeed Mobile application is available through Apple’s iTunes app store for $4.95. A demo can also be downloaded.

“The ‘iGeneration’ has grown up with iTunes, iPods and Macs,” DaSilva says. “They want to use Apple products because the company builds powerful systems in the simplest way.”