Right at the end of 2011, when everyone was gearing up for New Year celebrations, I looked at Lightspeed, a Mac-based POS (point-of-sale) designed for large retail businesses. It’s a mighty impressive piece of software but at over a grand for a single user licence (they start at $1,098 each — and that’s without the POS hardware!), it’s certainly not a cheap piece of kit.
However, since then, some major transformations have gone on within Lightspeed Retail, the developers. A few days ago, they acquired MerchantOS (a former rival company) and merged the two products into a new one called LightSpeed Cloud. Unlike the former product, which was confined to a single Mac, the new version now allows users to access their retail data from whatever device they are using — a real boom for retail businesses who use devices such as tablets and mobile phones in their day-to-day life.
Online stores are simply a great way to get your product out there to the masses. They require the bare minimum investment and almost anyone can set one up — as long as you’ve got something that people want to buy, you’re pretty much guaranteed sales. Of course, there are many ways to do this: eBay being one of the most notable, however in this case you are tied down to a particular site — having to follow their rules and regulations. The greatest flexibility comes when you set up a store on your own website.
Tictail believes it can help you set up a simple online store on your own website with the absolute bare minimum of input required from yourself. The site has already received accolades from popular sites such as Wired, TechCrunch and The Economist, so I decided to take it for a test drive to see what AppStorm’s take on things were. Here’s what I found out.
Seems like the 21st century is a bad time to be a brick and mortar retailer. Americans have long been accustomed to mail-order shopping, a tradition that started in the late 1800’s with settlers in the west. Considering how many commercials you see trying to get you to buy something right then over a toll-free number, someone must actually order random things over the phone, too.
Then came the internet. With promises of unlimited selection and the convenience of shopping in your pajamas, eCommerce was poised to take over traditional catalog orders. Promises of free shipping, then, started luring customers away from traditional stores, too. Today’s onslaught of downloadable eBooks, music, movies, and apps from iTunes, Amazon, and more changes it yet again, replacing both the stores and the very things they used to sell.
Where does traditional retail fit in today? Can it adapt to the changes, or remake itself into retail 2.0 by leveraging the internet along with their physical locations?