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What is Punchout Catalog and How Does It Work in E-Commerce?

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What is Punchout catalog system in e-commerce

What is the Punchout catalog system? How does it work? And how can you use this e-procurement tool in growing your e-commerce business? How was the term “Punchout” originated?

The term “PunchOut” was originally created by Ariba, an American procurement solutions platform.

It’s evident that online shopping as instituted by electronic commerce (e-commerce) has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the most utilized sales approaches. E-commerce on its part has continued to evolve, and now incorporated many other feasible concepts, such as Punchout.

We are not surprised that many buyers, customers, and organizations are demanding the Punchout technology from their suppliers. At this stage, you may be confused about the concept behind “Punchout,” and what it has to offer to the booming e-commerce industry.

What is Punchout Catalog?

The Punchout technology, which is also called the Punchout Catalog is an e-procurement model or approach that allows buyers or customers to gain access to the suppliers’ websites using their procurement application.

The necessitation of this is to trigger a smooth framework for electronic commerce (e-commerce) transactions whereby the buyers wouldn’t have to bore the suppliers with queries about a particular product or service. They would simply connect to the suppliers’ websites through their dedicated e-procurement system or application.

It’s important to point out that the Punchout Catalog is designed to be an electronic procurement solution that empowers buyers to move through their e-procurement vendor’s system to log into the supplier’s website, where they can then view the suppliers’ catalog or list of available products.

Moreover, buyers using this method can place orders and add items to their shopping carts within their existing e-procurement application and without necessarily getting the punchout catalog supplier to receive the order.

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How Does Punchout Work?

How Punchout catalog works

A Punchout catalog is a catalog that resides on a supplier’s e-commerce site but is viewable by customers who are using their own company’s procurement applications to make purchases. It uses a tool that redirects buyers from their procurement app to the supplier’s website.

Punchout has been making waves in the e-commerce industry and many players in the industry are ready to make use of it. Before they do that, they would like to have a concise idea of its functionalities. The Punchout Catalog is primarily used in the Business-to-Business (B2B) environment. So, how does the Punchout Catalog work?

Punchout Catalog Integration

The first thing to do is for the business or supplier’s website to have the Punchout integration. Once that is in place, the next step would be to integrate the Punchout Catalog into the buyers’ electronic procurement (e-procurement) system. The steps are to foster the connection that would lead to a seamless shopping experience. It’s worth mentioning that the Punchout Catalog takes the basis of the Open Catalog Interface (OCI), which is interoperable with many platforms.

The process of placing an order from the buyers’ end demands that the buyers would log into their e-procurement application. The suppliers’ website or platform would be selected as the target destination. The “punch out” would then be made in a way that the Punchout system would send the login request to the supplier’s website. Once the authentication has been facilitated, there would be a connection between the buyers and the suppliers’ e-procurement systems.

The suppliers’ website or e-commerce platform would then appear inside a window on the buyers’ e-procurement application or system. That means the connection has been successfully established. The suppliers can then go through the storefront of the supplier to view the available items, their prices, and every other detail they would need to arrive at an informed buying decision. Buyers can also browse through the categories in the product catalog, just as they can search for products.

Add Products to the Shopping Cart

The next step would be to add the items or products they intend to buy into the shopping cart. Contrary to the functionalities of the traditional system where buyers would click on the “Checkout” or “Order” button to confirm the transaction, the Punchout e-procurement system allows them to transfer the items or products in the shopping cart to their e-procurement system.

The final step is for the buyers to place a purchase order, which in turn, would be sent to the supplier for processing. That said, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of using a Punchout technology system.

Benefits of Using the Punchout Catalog

The Punchout Catalog has many benefits and we would highlight some of them. Below are the benefits of using the Punchout catalog on your B2B e-commerce website:

  • The whole process is automated, which makes it easier for buyers to enjoy speed product sourcing and fulfillment.
  • Using a Punchout Catalog or e-procurement system empowers buyers to source products and services from different vendors without leaving their e-procurement systems.
  • The Punchout system helps in the creation of customized displays for each authorized buyer.
Benefits of using the Punchout catalog in B2B online shopping website

How to Integrate Punchout Catalog in an E-Commerce Website

Here are the steps to follow to integrate the Punchout e-procurement system into your e-commerce website.

1. Connect to an E-Procurement System

The first thing to do is to connect the Punchout setup request in the formats of cXML or OCI. They do not only help in securing the connection but also examine incoming data and route customers to the catalog containing the products they need.

2. Shopping Cart Response

The Shopping Cart Response helps to transfer the buyers’ procurements or items in the shopping cart back to the buyers’ e-procurement application.

3. Electronic Purchase Order

This entails the information (such as accounting information and purchase approval), which would be sent to the suppliers’ system for fulfillment.

4. Acknowledgement

The order would be acknowledged via the sending of a confirmation message to the buyers. The next step would be to generate an electronic invoice.

5. Generation of an Electronic Invoice

An electronic invoice would be generated to facilitate the processing of the order, and subsequently, the payment.

6. Payment

The last step is for the buyers to make a payment to the dedicated payment channel. Oftentimes, this dedicated payment channel is usually a bank account.

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Punchout Catalog System Works in E-Commerce

It’s now clear that the integration of the Punchout Catalog into an e-commerce website would make it easier and more scalable for potential buyers to complete their orders in due course. You can now get started by integrating this fantastic technology into your business.

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