General PunchOut Catalog Frequently Asked Questions
This page answers frequently asked questions pertaining to PunchOut Catalogs. If you have a specific PunchOut question not covered here, please contact us.
PunchOut is a mechanism by which the e-procurement application makes it possible for a buyer to access a supplier's Web site from the buyer's own procurement application. The buyer leaves ("punches out") Ariba (or other procurement application) and enters the supplier's Web-based catalog which launches the supplier’s website within the buyer’s browser frame. The buyer browses the Web-based catalog and adds items to the shopping cart while both applications maintain their connections. No orders are sent to the supplier when the user checks out from the supplier’s Punchout site. Instead, the shopping cart with the selected items is brought back to the e-procurement application.
After the shopping cart is returned, the buyer proceeds through the normal workflow steps, which may include adding additional items to the requisition, canceling or editing the requisition, submitting the requisition, or discarding the requisition. An order is not submitted to the supplier until the buyer has actually added the line items to a purchase order and the purchase order is approved and sent to the supplier. See our "What is a Punchout Catalog" Video.
The end user from the buying organization leaves (“punches out”) of their procurement application (ie. SAP Ariba, Coupa, SciQuest, Oracle, SAP, etc) and enters the supplier’s web-based catalog. The end user adds items to their shopping cart while both applications maintain their connections. When the end user is ready to check out, the shopping cart with the selected items is transferred back to the procurement application. The end user does not go through a typically business-to-consumer (B2C) checkout process. Once the cart is transferred back into the procurement application, the order is routed through their organization for financial approval. Once the order is approved, a purchase order is generated from the procurement system and sent to the Supplier to fulfill.
E-procurement (electronic procurement) is the business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-government (B2G) purchase and sales of supplies, work and services through the Internet as well as other information and networking systems such as electronic data interchange (EDI) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). E-procurement consists of many different processes which include sourcing, vendor management, catalog management, Purchase Order Integration, Order Status, Ship Notice, e-invoicing, e-payment and contract management.
E-procurement in the public sector has seen rapid growth in recent years within the US and is emerging internationally. Source - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-procurement
An E-procurement system is a procurement web application that businesses use in order to facilitate electronic purchasing processes and is a tool which provides visibility into spend, management of vendors and contracts, and helps procurement officers match purchases with purchase orders and invoices. Procurement officers within Buying organizations have been tasked to control and manage spend within their company and eliminate “maverick” or off-contract spend. As a result, Buying organizations are mandating their employees to purchase goods and services only through their chosen e-procurement system. The e-procurement system allows employees within the organization to browse online vendor catalogs and order products from multiple vendors within a marketplace. The user adds items to a shopping cart and submits a purchase requisition electronically through the e-procurement system. The electronic purchase requisition is routed appropriately within the Buying organization for financial approval. Once the order is approved, an electronic purchase order is generated within the e-procurement system and sent electronically to the appropriate vendor(s) to fulfil the order.
The online vendor catalogs for e-procurement systems come in two different formats:
PunchOut Catalog - vendor ecommerce web application that supplies essential information for ordering goods and services and also provides marketing and promotional forum directly to the buyers
Hosted Catalog/CIF Catalog - a static product list (usually in an Excel format) that is uploaded within the e-procurement system by the vendor that provides the essential information for ordering goods and services.
There are many different e-procurement system providers in the market today. Examples of well know players in the market include SAP, SAP Ariba, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Coupa and SciQuest.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the global online B2B market is expected to reach $6.7 trillion by 2020, twice the estimated B2C market potential.
Suppliers are pressured by their Buying organizations to make an investment and the business decision to offer PunchOut Catalog capabilities in order to retain key customers and win new sales opportunities or they risk losing the business. Many Suppliers are at the elementary stage of understanding e-procurement and do not understand how this channel will affect their business. Best-in-class Suppliers view e-procurement as a strategic business initiative and have invested in PunchOut Catalog and B2B order automation technology in order to make it easy for their customers to purchase and transact with them. Because these suppliers are providing a much easier method for their customers to purchase and engage with them and the technology is available 24/7/365, leading suppliers that partner with PunchOut2Go have realized the following benefits:
- Retained business with key customers
- Won new bids & sales opportunities
- Increased top line sales revenue by double-digit percentages
- Decreased integration time from months to weeks
- Locked in preferred vendor status
- Increased customer satisfaction with order accuracy improvements up to 99%
- Lowered their cost to serve their customers by eliminating manual order entry
- Increased customer loyalty by making it easy for their customers to do business with them
No, When you partner with PunchOut2Go, you will not need to create a separate PunchOut Catalog because our technology normalizes and harmonizes the data moving to and from your eCommerce application. PunchOut2Go offers an adaptable cloud-based gateway technology (PunchOut2Go Gateway) that sits between your eCommerce store and any of your customers on any procurement system. Where other PunchOut Solution providers require you to use their own proprietary eCommerce application to build a PunchOut Catalog, PunchOut2Go is the only solution provider that is 100% focused on integrating your own eCommerce application. Therefore, your eCommerce application can be used for both B2C, Direct B2B and B2B e-procurement PunchOut orders.
Buyers are asking for punchout. Unfortunately buyers are ceasing to do business with vendors that don't offer punchout or deliver on a determined time. In fact, many of today's RFP's are "recommending" or "requiring" punchout. These trading partners want their suppliers to do business the way they want. Our solution makes it possible for your company to compete with your blue chip neighbors. PO2GO is here to establish your punchout, contact us.
PunchOut Catalogs and CIF/Hosted Catalogs share the same purpose. Both allow organizations to share vendor product catalogs electronically with their buyers through a procurement application. However, the approach is very different for each format and each format has their strengths and weaknesses.
A CIF Catalog (Catalog Interchange Format), is a term that is used by SAP Ariba, or sometimes also referred to by other procurement providers as a “Hosted Catalog”. It is a static product list that supplies only essential information to order products which is uploaded within the Buyer’s procurement system (ie. SAP Ariba, Coupa, SciQuest, SAP, Oracle, etc). It is also sometimes referred to as a line item catalog. End users within the Buying organization can search and shop from all hosted catalog vendors within the e-procurement marketplace.
A CIF or Hosted Catalog requires the Supplier to dedicate resources to compile the data for the catalog, keep the data current and upload the csv file into each Buyer’s eProcurement system. The Buying Organization will then review the catalog and approve within the e-procurement system to make it available to the user community. Data is not transparent and does not happen in real time like with a PunchOut Catalog. For example, if the Supplier launches a new product it would require a resource from their organization to gather the pertinent information, format into the appropriate file and upload a new hosted catalog into each Buyer’s procurement system in order for customers to have the ability to order the new product.
In today’s B2B environment, PunchOut Catalogs are the preferred format with the large majority of Suppliers and Buyers alike. A PunchOut Catalog is a powerful tool to integrate with a buyer’s e-procurement system, allowing suppliers to present and market their product offering in a dynamic, real-time, useable format.
Here is an overview of the benefits and limits for each type of vendor catalog format:
- Supplier manages content and displays product portfolio in a way that best reflects their offering.
- Content and pricing are dynamic and real-time, if the supplier has the integration to accommodate.
- New products listed sooner and suppliers control the views.
- Allows for ability to order configurable products in a manner that the supplier feels is best suited.
- Eliminates generation of catalog files for each buyer allowing one central application serving up all customers which lowers the cost to serve customers with a single interface.
- Special website features available for upselling, promotion and marketing to increase sales.
- No limit to content.
- Sky's the limit! It's your store and you can sell your products in the best way you have decided to.
- Product not searchable within marketplace without Level II PunchOut Catalog functionality enabled.
- Different experience for buyer with each supplier's website.
- Provides one-stop shop for buyers.
- Consistent experience for buyer.
- Content and pricing is static.
- New products are not available until Supplier loads new content files.
- Buyers must approve each supplier catalog, updates as well.
- Supplier must create catalog information files for each buyer on each system around the specifications that each buyer or system mandates.
- For the most part, only simple products and services can be ordered.
- Because every supplier is not a one-size fits all, the search algorithms never work in a manner the supplier would find accurate.
- When you look at all the vendors that buying organizations have, there is no way any hosted catalog situation would achieve the best results possible for a supplier.
A Level 2 (sometimes referred to as Level II) PunchOut Catalog allows buying organizations to search for PunchOut items within the marketplace of the e-procurement application instead of having to search the Supplier's PunchOut Catalog site directly. The buyer can enter a term in the search results window of the marketplace and if the Supplier's PunchOut Catalog is enabled as a Level 2 within the procurement application, those products matching the search term will appear in the search results. The buyer can click a link next to the product that they are interested in and the application will direct the buyer to the specific product page within the PunchOut Catalog. Level 2 PunchOut provides Suppliers with increased visibility and increase visits to their PunchOut Catalog. Only a select number of e-procurement providers support Level 2 functionality within their application at this time which include SAP Ariba and SciQuest.
PunchOut2Go is a global B2B commerce cloud integration company that reduces the cost and complexity for Suppliers with integrating PunchOut Catalogs and other B2B order automation process with their Buyers. PunchOut2Go is the only solution provider on the market solely focused on the enablement of a Supplier's own ecommerce application with any of their Buyer's on any procurement system.
PunchOut2Go offers an adaptable cloud-based gateway technology, known as the PunchOut2Go Gateway, that sits between the supplier's ecommerce store and any of their customers on any procurement system. It is very seamless for developers to connect to the PunchOut2Go gateway via an open API, traditional web standards and one on one support. Because the PunchOut2Go Gateway sits between the supplier's ecommerce store and any of their customers on any procurement system, the technology normalizes and harmonizes data such as PunchOut Order Requests, PunchOut Order Messages, Electronic Purchase Orders, Electronic Invoices and any other B2B documents that need to moving to and from your store so that all systems can communicate effectively.
All PunchOut2Go clients receive access to the PunchOut2Go Portal, which is a tool that allows Suppliers the ability to emulate, test and validate each of their PunchOut Catalogs before configuring the PunchOut with the respective procurement system and buyer. The portal is only available to Suppliers and their buyers will not have access. The PunchOut2Go Portal allows Suppliers to:
- Test and demonstrate punchout to your store
- Test purchase order and invoice handling, where applicable
- Receive and access purchase orders
- Integrate or use PO flip to invoice your buyer
- Real-time analytics to measure conversions and track performance of each integration
- Real-Time accessibility to all the data moving between buyers' procurement systems and the supplier's ecommerce site.
The PunchOut2Go Portal is the only tool available on the market to allow Suppliers the ability to emulate, test and validate each of their PunchOut Catalogs with their respective buyers. The PunchOut2Go Portal enables Suppliers:
- Have full visibility into each and every PunchOut session to their store
- Emulate the PunchOut Catalog experience for each Buyer
- Report, filter and compare PunchOut Catalog performance in order to target marketing efforts and track sales conversions
The PunchOut2Go Gateway can integrate with any ecommerce platform! The PunchOut2Go Gateway is an adaptable cloud-based solution that is very ecommerce platform neutral. We work with ecommerce providers, homegrown applications and also offer packaged solutions for some platforms. We currently support integrated PunchOut2Go solutions for Magento, NetSuite, IBM WebSphere Commerce, WooCommerce/WordPress, Shopify, CNET/Channel Online, Evolution, Broadleaf Commerce, Big Commerce, Insite Software and many more. Contact us to learn more.
With PunchOut2Go, you can integrate with any procurement system! PunchOut2Go supports thousands of integration points around the globe on upwards of 70 different procurement platforms such as SAP Ariba, Coupa, SciQuest, SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and many others.
Some Buyers will require that their Suppliers be able to accept purchase orders and submit invoices electronically in order to integrate with their e-procurement application, which allows both companies the ability to streamline the entire procure to pay process and reduce errors and labor spent on processing manual orders. PunchOut2Go provides additional solutions for electronic purchase orders, invoices and any other documents that need to pass through and be normalized. Procurement applications will offer various methods of both receiving purchase orders and invoices that may include email, fax, cXML, XML, EDI, X12, xCBL and Supplier portals.
Any data transfer protocols! Because the PunchOut2Go Gateway sits between your ecommerce store and any of your customers on any procurement system, the technology normalizes and harmonizes data such as PunchOut Order Requests, PunchOut Order Messages, electronic Purchase Orders, invoices and any other B2B documents that need to move to and from your store. The PunchOut2Go gateway does all the heavy lifting and will translate the documents into the proper format so that each system is able to send and receive properly. PunchOut2Go currently formats and transports the following document types: cXML, OCI, EDI, XML, X12, iDOC, xCBL, AS2, HTTPs, FTPs, and flat file via transport methods such as web services, HTTPS POST, AS2, VAN and others.
PunchOut2Go provides solutions that are customizable and tailored to fit the needs of our clients. We provide far more than just the technology by managing each Buyer integration from start to finish on behalf of the Supplier and providing industry expertise to help Suppliers drive growth within the procurement channel.
The pricing model includes:
- A one time implementation fee to connect to the PunchOut2Go Gateway.
- A one time new Buyer integration fee
- Monthly licensing and integration assurance fee
PunchOut2Go maintains the integration for the life of the relationship and provides 24/7/365 access to the PunchOut2Go portal for testing and reporting analytics.
Contact us to begin discussing your PunchOut requirements!
Every project is customized and tailored to fit the needs of our clients. PunchOut2Go has a team of Project Managers, Implementation Specialists, Integration Specialists and Developers in house that will manage the project on the behalf of the Supplier to see them through with speed and precision. PunchOut2Go will work with their clients' developers to set up or establish the technology, configure and test. After the implementation of the ecommerce store, the PunchOut2Go team will work directly with the Buyer, on behalf of the supplier, to integrate into their e-procurement system. In terms of timeframe, it really depends on the schedule and time allocation of the Developer on the Supplier's side. On average, an implementation of the PunchOut2Go Gateway from start to finish takes about 30 days but not because there is 30 days of work. PunchOut2Go can move as fast as the Supplier can allocate time to the project.
PunchOut2Go provides solutions that are focused 100% on the enablement of a Supplier's own ecommerce application to any Buyer on any procurement system. Other PunchOut catalog providers require Suppliers to use their own proprietary ecommerce application in order to connect to their Buyer's procurement systems which is challenging for organizations to maintain multiple storefronts on multiple applications and ultimately, makes no sense.
PunchOut2Go works with any homegrown/custom application and also offers packaged solutions for many eCommerce platforms. We offer plug-and-play solutions for popular eCommerce platforms such as Magento, IBM WebSphere Commerce, Big Commerce, Shopify, WordPress/WooCommerce and many more, plus tightly integrated solutions with other third-party eCommerce providers like Channel Online/CNET, Evolution Software, XMPie and others in order to easily connect the dots with over 70 different eProcurement systems such as SAP Ariba, Oracle, SAP, Coupa, PeopleSoft, SciQuest, etc.
Developing integrations paths to all the numerous e-procurement systems on the market, while accommodating customizations that individuals buyers make to the documentation protocols is a tall order for suppliers. No two eProcurement integrations are the same and with every single integration come anomalies. Every e-procurement system has different requirements and protocols so it is very challenging for suppliers to tackle the punchout development and B2B integrations internally.
Besides the complexity, Suppliers are faced with obstacles such as cost, resources and the time to implement. Many large and small organizations have decided to develop punchout and B2B order automation capabilities internally but then find that their solution is not scalable.
B2B Suppliers that want a scalable, repeatable solution partner with PunchOut2Go in order to reduce the cost and complexity involved in connecting their storefront to their buyers' e-procurement applications. We have many companies, large and small, that package up our solutions to enhance their offerings. PunchOut2Go does all the heavy lifting for Suppliers, making it easy for suppliers to connect and do business with their customers. It's far more inexpensive with PunchOut2Go and allows scalability!
Just as large buying entities of the world are adapting cloud-based e-procurement systems, seller's experience the luxury of a one-and-done integration with PunchOut2Go that connects their ecommerce application to any buyer on any e-procurement system.
Once an organization is able to offer PunchOut2Go punchout catalog capabilities, it is critical to build awareness and drive usage of the channel. This can be done in a few ways:
- Use internal resources to develop and implement a channel marketing strategy, customer target lists, marketing collateral and training or
- Partner with a 3rd party provider that specializes in the e-procurement - such as PunchOut2Go - to market and train internal customer-facing positions and build out a marketing strategy.
The best-in-class Suppliers that drive connections with their Buyers in the e-procurement channel educate and train their organization on the importance of the channel and how to uncover how their customers are procuring products/services. In addition, best in class Suppliers build out a marketing strategy and tactics to market their punchout catalog and B2B order automation capabilities to target customers in order to grow sales and lower their cost to serve.
You are most likely here because your buyer or an RFQ you are bidding on is requiring your company to provide a PunchOut Catalog or your buyer has said "Get on the Network or you're done". There are many reasons Buyers request PunchOut; Buyers save time with work flow and quick turn around for all purchase orders, Buyers Control spending by creating electronic purchase orders from an easy to navigate interface with strong accountability, Buyers reduce errors and Increase productivity with an overall goal to Simplify and More effectively Manage Procurement Processes.
Over 70 and counting! Ariba, Oracle, SciQuest, SAP, Coupa, PeopleSoft, TBlox, and Peoplesoft are some of the most popular procurement systems that we have integrated PunchOut Catalogs. PunchOut2Go has the ability to integrate to any procurement system that allows PunchOut and in any required document protocol from CXML, OCI, XML, xCBL and other custom protocols. One of the main benefits of PunchOut2Go is our Gateway. The PunchOut2Go Gateway deals with any of the variances between any of the procurement systems as well as buyer variances.
CXML (Commerce eXtensible Markup Language) is a procurement industry standard document language which allows buyers from procurement systems such as Ariba, SciQuest, Coupa and many others to punchout to a eCommerce site. OCI (Open Catalog Interface) relies on field mapping between a buyers SAP Procurement system to a suppliers e-commerce site. CXML Procurement systems typically have less configuration variances than OCI. The PunchOut2Go Gateway deals with any variances between any procurement system, cxml or OCI.
PunchOut2Go offers ecommerce providers, development organizations, consulting agencies & e-procurement providers an attractive program that allows organizations to have a one-and-done integration between their application and PunchOut2Go. We also offer mutual two-way referral partnerships. Please contact us to discuss your partnership.