Lightspeed to launch e-commerce platform following European acquisition

MONTREAL – Lightspeed POS is entering the terrain of tech darling Shopify (TSX:SH) by launching an e-commerce platform for online-only customers after concluding the largest acquisition in the Montreal company’s history.

The company has bought Amsterdam online software firm SEOshop for an undisclosed price.

Lightspeed CEO and founder Dax Dasilva says the deal will provide Lightspeed with its first detailed offering for online-only merchants while also giving bricks and mortar retailers access to a sophisticated online tool.

“Our focus has always been physical locations but now, with this new acquisition, we’re going to be a real player online also,” he said in an interview.

Unlike its early webstore service, Lightspeed eCom provides fully customizable websites, Dasilva said.

“I think it’s the combination of a very powerful retail system and a very powerful e-commerce system that we don’t see elsewhere in the market.”

The multilingual, multi-currency platform includes features like detailed inventory management that traditionally have only been accessible to large, deep-pocketed firms.

“It levels the playing field,” Dasilva said, adding Lightspeed will be among the few companies to service retailers with both stores and online customers.

Like its core retail and restaurant platforms, the new eCom offering is geared for mid-sized customers and will compete with Shopify Plus, Dasilva said.

E-commerce only customers tend to be smaller than those with retail stores, averaging US$50,000 in annual transactions compared with US$600,000 for mainstream retailers.

Founded in 2005, Lightspeed now serves 34,000 businesses in more than 100 countries and processes US$12 billion in annual transactions. That includes US$1 billion from SEOshop, which Dasilva says is the fastest growing e-commerce platform in Europe, having doubled revenue annually for the past three years.

SEOshop sells to more than 8,000 online merchants, including Heineken, National Geographic Netherlands and the Van Gogh Museum. It has 80 employees working in Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

The acquisition stems from $80 million in funding in September from the Caisse de depot, Investissement Quebec and original investors Accel Partners and iNovia Capital.

SEOshop’s CEO Ruud Stelder and another senior executive will join Lightspeed, which has more than 450 employees in nine offices around the world.

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