Everyone, including large, big-ticket buyers, who use eProcurement systems, wants to shop the “Amazon” way. PunchOut catalogs make this possible. But here’s the catch with PunchOuts: Until recently, it was exclusive to big box retailers. Small suppliers, despite knowing the benefits of PunchOut catalog, couldn’t afford integrating PunchOut catalogs.
But as the cost of technology has dipped, small and mid-sized suppliers can dream of having a successful business if they offered B2B PunchOut catalog integration. It’s not just the hike in revenue but strong customer relations as well. This well-established network of brand advocates can plug suppliers into a wide network of prospective partners.
- How to choose the best eCommerce PunchOut Catalog Provider?
- Make the Most of PunchOuts With B2B eCommerce Integration
How to choose the best eCommerce PunchOut Catalog Provider?
So, as a supplier, you are very sure about your next step – searching for the best eCommerce PunchOut solutions. But beyond that? It’s even more petrifying when you search for options. Google shows all kinds of “look-alike” B2B companies and jargon like cXML PunchOut catalogs, Level 2 catalogs, electronic purchase orders, etc. How do you zoom in on one solution, let alone understand these terms.
Fear not. This checklist will help you figure out your goal, understand the difference makers and choose the best solution.
1. Integration With Well-known Procurement Systems
The good news is that even small suppliers can now tap into a wide array of customers, especially medium-to-large ones. To get there, it is critical that the eCommerce PunchOut catalog solution supports all major cloud-based procurement systems like Coupa, Ariba, Peoplesoft, Jaggaer, etc.
If you want to beat your competition to the punch, you must make sure your PunchOut catalog is mounted on a data platform that can adapt to each customer and connect to any system your prospects/customers may have.
This integration happens commonly with cXML or OCI standards. While OCI is a complex and exclusively used format by SAP, cXML is a widely chosen and a better alternative.
cXML PunchOut catalog integration creates a superior experience that holds the power of doing more than basic PunchOut transactions. With upgrading legacy systems as the biggest challenge for 37% distributors, cXML PunchOut catalogs stand as the go-to option. They’re cheap, simple to read and allow secure data transfer for purchase orders, order receipts, product orders, and fulfillment updates.
2. Adaptable to Multiple Catalogs
What if the supplier has multiple customers using varied procurement systems running on the same store? Will they need multiple eCommerce stores? They won’t have to if the PunchOut solution comes with login-based pre-configured stores with synchronized catalog and pricing.
This helps the supplier customize the look and feel of the website based on customer login information. This means once the supplier loads all the product data into the system, they can create as many catalogs as opportunity allows, across procurement systems, on one single administrative console.
3. Level 2 PunchOut Catalog Functionality is a Must
Level 1 PunchOuts only support searching within the PunchOut catalog, not within the eProcurement system. The PunchOut sites still provide plenty of information for the buyer, but to find what they need, the buyer must learn how to navigate through different styles and search functions.
Further, buyers need to locate suppliers of a particular product on their procurement application before searching on the PunchOut site for the product.
The Level 2 PunchOut catalogs, on the other hand, allow buyers to search for products using the search functionality of the procurement application.
There is a direct connection to Level 2 PunchOut catalogs from the search results and a “Buy from Supplier” link, which leads to a PunchOut site for the product. Large organizations and government agencies will expect Level 2 PunchOut as they’re connected to multiple PunchOut-ready suppliers. So, it’s best to ensure the PunchOut provider knows the difference and can offer customer-centric procurement solutions.
4. Offers Easy Data Collection, Setup and Sharing
During procurement, both buyer and the supplier want the data onboarding to be as smooth and painless as possible.
To get going, PunchOut catalog’s data platform must be easy to set up. In addition, the way suppliers send and receive product data is equally important. Whether it’s API/FTP to transfer inventory & product data or a direct transfer to the accounting systems, you need seasoned service for a streamlined spend management.
This creates an easy data collection, setup and sharing process. This not only saves multiple headaches but also ensures you make the best first impression on your customers.
5. Has a User-friendly Interface
Here’s a trope that’s been doing rounds ever since PunchOuts made it to the scene – PunchOut is as simple as throwing up a site that connects the customer’s eProcurement system. But customers need scalable solutions. Whether it’s through upskilling or technology advancement, buying organizations will look for ways to further streamline their procurement process.
And as mentioned above, the day is not far when suppliers will need to manage multiple catalogs and initiate automated transactions. This makes it a must-have for suppliers to create user-friendly, intuitive and easy-to-manage PunchOut catalogs from one centralized location.
Make the Most of PunchOuts With B2B eCommerce Integration
Walking through this checklist will get you up and running. But one question remains unanswered: What if buyers don’t have an eProcurement system and prefer eCommerce? Can the suppliers afford to miss out on a huge chunk of eCommerce savvy buyers?
Absolutely not. Which is why the most balanced approach is to adopt an integrated approach that wins you the best of both worlds – Big Ticket and Small-mid sized buyers.With the PunchOut solution integrated into an eCommerce platform, clients and prospects will gain access to specialized purchasing benefits (adaptable workflow routings, flexible payment options, etc.) without the need for an eProcurement platform. But more than anything, make sure you make the most of the B2B eCommerce upswing with a comprehensive, all-in-one business management solution.