The Future of B2B commerce - eProcurement and B2B PunchOut

Technology has developed at a rapid pace within the B2B sector and the landscape is quickly changing the way companies transact and conduct business.  In fact, as many as 69% of B2B eCommerce executives expect to stop printing paper catalogs altogether over the next five years, according to a recent survey conducted by Forrester Research and Internet Retailer.  Buying organizations around the globe are investing in eProcurement technology to gain efficiencies throughout the entire purchasing process and as the popularity of B2C eCommerce has bled over into the B2B space, B2B buyers expect to purchase from their suppliers online through their procurement platform.

Benefits of eProcurement
eProcurement solutions such as SAP Ariba, Coupa, Oracle, SciQuest and many others on the market provide a platform which solves many challenges for Buying organizations such as:
  1. Gaining visibility into spend with hundreds of their suppliers
  2. ability to integrate electronic catalogs, such as PunchOut Catalogs or Hosted Catalogs, directly with their preferred suppliers in order to drive spend and increase contract compliance
  3. Ability to enforce buying policies
  4. Achieving proper approvals on all orders
  5. Reducing manual paperwork by automating electronic purchase orders and invoices

While there are many benefits gained from instituting eProcurement technology, those benefits are only realized if Buyers can persuade their Suppliers to integrate and transact through the procurement application.  However, many Suppliers are at the elementary stage of understanding eProcurement, how to integrate a PunchOut Catalog, and how it will benefit their business.

So, what is a PunchOut Catalog?
Buying organizations are mandating that their employees order products directly through their procurement marketplace and prohibit orders directly from Suppliers’ B2C/B2B website.  As a result, Buying organizations have developed Supplier Adoption strategies and are leveraging their RFP process to require Suppliers to integrate a PunchOut Catalog and transact electronically.

A “PunchOut Catalog” is a web-based vendor catalog designed specifically for B2B eCommerce and eProcurement integration functions (which can be custom-built or established by a third-party solution provider) that – at a minimum – provides the following benefits and capabilities:

  • The ability to give B2B buyers secure, pre-authenticated, 24/7 access to your eCommerce platform directly from one or more eProcurement systems
  • The ability to customize specific details within your current eCommerce platform for specific buying entities, such as limited product offering and contract pricing
When B2B buyers “PunchOut” to a supplier’s PunchOut Catalog through their eProcurement system, it also allows their organization to maintain full control over the order approval and payment process. For example:

  1. A B2B buyer logs in to their internal eProcurement system to shop for goods.
  2. The buyer selects a company’s logo button to “punch out” to supplier’s website. The buyer’s credentials are immediately passed over to that supplier’s eCommerce application to direct the buyer to the correct product offering, while maintaining a connection with the eProcurement application.
  3. Within the PunchOut Catalog, the buyer can add the items to their shopping cart.
  4. When the buyer is ready to checkout, all items in their PunchOut Catalog shopping cart are transferred back over to their eProcurement system for final approval. Once the order is approved, a purchase order is sent to the supplier, preferably via the eProcurement system (which will require additional capabilities on the supplier end)

While eProcurement platforms support the ability to “punchout” to Supplier catalogs and electronic PO and invoice handling, Suppliers are faced with many challenges around trying to figure out how to leverage their existing eCommerce application and infrastructure to accommodate each buyers’ needs, whether to invest in resources internally or partner with third party provider to manage the integrations and how to determine their return on investment

Once Suppliers are able to overcome these challenges, they can then compete with the best in class Suppliers that have been paving inroads within the B2B eProcurement space for years.  These companies have become well positioned as a preferred supplier and have increased sales revenue by

  1. Investing in a solid eCommerce application that supports PunchOut and easily integrates in their backend systems, fully automating the procure to pay process.
  2. Building the infrastructure either by partnering with 3rd party eCommerce and PunchOut providers or investing heavily in internal IT resources and infrastructure to manage each PunchOut Catalog integration.
  3. Developing a marketing strategy for the B2B procurement channel and executing on tactics to promote their PunchOut and B2B order automation capabilities to their target customer base in order to grow the number of integrations, grow sales and lower their cost to serve.
With’s partnership with industry procurement experts, PunchOut2Go, Suppliers can utilize their existing eCommerce application to communicate with any Buyer’s procurement system. PunchOut2Go is a global B2B cloud integration company that offers an adaptable gateway solution that reduces the cost and complexity for Suppliers with integrating Punchout Catalogs and B2B order automation processes with their Buyers. For more information, visit

This blog was written by Kari Cress, Client Success & Marketing Manager for PunchOut2Go.

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