Take a minute to think about how you and your employees gain product knowledge. Maybe you attend seminars once in a while, or even use a formal training program. Both provide an important foundation for learning, but there is no substitute for experience. Most of what you learn, both inside and outside of your store, comes in bits and pieces from your own experiences combined with the others’ experiences. Your hardware product knowledge grows each day as you solve problems with customers, and talk with vendors.
When it comes to your POS system, the situation is different. You might have a user manual, and hopefully you’ve attended some user group meetings at the Markets. At times you may contact your vendor’s support line if you have a specific problem. However, despite the fact that your POS system is the information backbone of your store, your knowledge doesn’t grow very quickly if you’re not connecting with other users.
The opportunity to connect is just one click away! There are numerous blogs and online forums that can connect you to others who may have the same questions you do, or who can offer their expertise in solving problems. On the other hand, you may hold the answer to someone else’s problem. Most importantly, it doesn’t take a lot of time. You can usually sign up to receive emails when there are new posts, so you don’t have to visit a web site regularly. You can read when you have time, and delete or ignore when you don’t.
Blogs and forums administered by vendors (like this one) are usually monitored by the vendor, and often times they will answer questions and participate in the conversation. Independent forums, such as the Hardlines Digest, deal with POS questions relating to many different systems along with other topics. You may have to be a customer to use some of the vendor-specific forums. Here’s a short list to get you started:
AgVantage Forum: Private vendor forum for AgVantage users
ARS Blog: Public Blog sponsored by ARS, mostly related to ARS system features
DBMS User Forum: Private vendor forum for DBMS users
Pacsoft User Forum: Private vendor forum for Pacsoft users
Hardlines Digest: Public forum, requires registration. Content covers all aspects of hardware retailing including POS systems. Recent posts relating to Activant and RockSolid POS systems.
Do you know of other online resources for retailers with POS systems? Click the comment link to share them!