A client that operates in a highly-regulated field needed a Business Rule for their Vend / Lightspeed X-Series POS system, and we were able to implement the rule using a Cloudflare worker, making it blazing-fast and extremely reliable, while also reducing the initial cost by 90% and essentially eliminating ongoing costs. It felt great to help improve their business, and I still was paid well for my time, so this was a good outcome all around. I enjoyed it enough that I would like to do more, so if you need Lightspeed Retail X-Series Business Rules please contact me!
A note on terminology: The POS system was created by Vend, which was recently bought by Lighspeed. Rebranding isn’t complete so the product is referred to as both “Vend” and “Lightspeed Retail POS (X-Series)” – which is quite a mouthful. I am used to saying “Vend” so that’s probably what I’ll use the most, but may also use “Lightspeed X-Series” for future SEO.
What are Lightspeed X-Series Business Rules?
Business Rules are web hooks that the Vend platform sends when certain events take place. Depending on the response to the web hook Vend can take certain actions, such as showing a message to the cashier, preventing the sale, and more. Because the POS waits for the rule to finish before continuing rules need to send their response extremely fast, otherwise the Point of Sale system will feel super-slow and broken. Lightspeed X-Series will wait up to 2 seconds for a response from the URL configured, but every effort should be made to respond faster, especially if rules are going to be run when adding items to the purchase. Imagine if waiting two whole seconds between scanning items at the cash!
Cloudflare Workers are the Tool for the Job
The rule we created was able to make all decisions based on the contents of the cart, so when considering how to respond super-fast to a web request containing all of the information needed we realized that Cloudflare Workers are perfect for the job: they’re fast, easy to deploy, and inexpensive.
The client had previously set up a similar business, but used a vendor based in the USA to create the business rule. My understanding was that the cost was around US$5,000 to create the rule, and there was an ongoing cost of around US$25 per month per store. With several stores that was an ongoing bill of a few hundred dollars per month.
My work is part of a larger engagement, but it only took me a few hours to learn to build a Cloudflare Worker and program the logic, and both I and the client are in Canada, so my total bill for setting up the business rule was just over 500 Canadian Dollars, savings of over 90%. The worker is running in the client’s Cloudflare account and falls within the limits of the free Cloudflare worker plan, so the ongoing cost is zero. In the future if they grow and exceed the free limits Cloudflare’s worker pricing is essentially a rounding error in the scale of their business.
My CA$500 bill doesn’t include future modifications, so the client may choose to spend more money in the future fine-tuning the rule, or changing the rule as their business needs change, but I don’t see how the total cost could possibly exceed the competing solution.
Business Rule Wishlist
Vend/Lightspeed’s business rules provide an interesting way to extend the Point of Sale system in unique ways. In our situation, because of regulations, we need to limit the amount of certain products that can be purchased in a single transaction – something that I wouldn’t expect to find included by default in a POS system, but so much more is possible. That said, I have a wish list of improvements for business rules. Lightspeed, are you listening?
- I have been told the POS has an offline mode for situations where internet isn’t available. I would like to see some sort of runtime available to run rules locally. This would let us enforce business rules even if the store’s internet is offline, (some of the client’s stores are fairly remote).
- Run the “stop” command, or at least the “confirm” command, (which shows a message to the cashier), when adding line items. This would let us prevent an item from being added to the sale, (or let us remove it, then tell the cashier what happened), if the addition of the line item would go over the regulatory limit.
Could I build a business on this?
Building this business rule has me wondering if I could build a business on Lightspeed Retail POS (X-Series) business rules. I’m not sure exactly how it would work, but I could imagine providing access to a library of commonly-needed, pre-built rules for a reasonable flat fee, or maybe a usage-based fee. Maybe custom rules could be built for an hourly rate then run for that same usage fee. There’s some thinking to do! In the meantime I’m interested in building more of these, so if you need business rules, for Vend or any other system, get in touch.