Lightspeed explores AI to help merchants

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TORONTO – The newly returned director of Lightspeed Commerce Inc. says the company is exploring how it can use generative artificial intelligence to help its customers.

Dax Dasilva, CEO of the Montreal-based technology company, says AI could be useful for merchants who want to write product descriptions if they have large volumes of merchandise.

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He also sees it potentially useful for sellers looking to forecast how much they will need to buy for the upcoming season, a task he called “labor-intensive.”

“It requires a lot of attention from the business owner, who has less and less time because they have to be great online, great in-store or great in the restaurant,” he said Wednesday at the CIX Summit held at the Design Exchange in Toronto.

“There are many factors, but AI can help in that process.”

Lightspeed’s interest in AI goes hand-in-hand with several other sectors that have been experimenting with how the technology can deliver efficiency and cost savings to their businesses and customers.

Dasilva’s mention of technology is notable because it comes as he is charting a new path for Lightspeed, which he founded in 2005.

Dasilva was its CEO for most of its history, but became executive chairman when he handed the reins of the company to JP Chauvet in February 2022. Dasilva returned to the CEO role in February of this year, when Chauvet stepped down. the company.

Now back in the top job, Dasilva has focused on profitability and increasing Lightspeed’s share price, which he says hasn’t changed much since he took the company public in 2019.

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Lightspeed’s share price fell 17 cents or less than one percent to $18.62 in mid-morning trading Wednesday.

Part of Dasilva’s return has meant listening to shareholders.

“One of our major shareholders told me, ‘I want Lightspeed to be a real business. There can be no growth at all costs with huge losses just to capture market share forever. When is this company going to have a balance of growth and profitability?” said Dasilva.

Before the company took on venture capital and “supercharged everything to grow faster,” Dasilva said Lightspeed was profitable.

Now, he recognized that it is necessary to have “good discipline,” find efficiencies and “not just pursue growth without considering operations.”

But he warned that “there is a lot that can be done in the short term.”

So far, Lightspeed has shifted its sales summit from an in-person event to a virtual event to help control expenses.

It has also changed its work-from-home policies so it can reduce some of the days it provides food to staff in its offices.

Managers, anyone in higher positions and new employees in their first six months at the company previously had to work from the office five days a week and other staff three days.

Now, all employees must be in the office three days a week.

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