Punchout catalogs can transform many aspects of your business. If you’re selling B2B, consider implementing a punchout catalog to achieve greater efficiencies throughout your supply chain.
With modern tools and a little planning, you can get your business ready so your customers can start ordering right away.
What is punch out?
A punchout catalog gives your customers direct access to your inventory directly in your procurement system. It restores the feeling of typical online shopping and reduces many processes that are still present for B2B companies.
Instead of taking orders directly from customers and then having someone key them into the company’s system, a punchout gateway takes orders and processes them as CSML messages through an eProcurement system.
Make your business punchout ready
How does it work? How can you prepare your business punchout? Well, like most things these days, it all depends on a lot of technology. In addition to technology, you need to support some human aspects such as: B. Communicating the change with your customers.
Working on long-term contracts
Long-term contracts and clients are best suited to working with a punchout catalog eProcurement system. Although the systems largely replicate the online shopping experience for consumers, there can be a bit of a learning curve for your customers.
This has largely discouraged companies from implementing punchout catalogues. However, as the workforce becomes more tech-savvy, many are willing to move forward and collaborate with their clients to create buyer portals and an easy-to-use punchout catalog.
Integrate Punchout into your e-commerce
eProcurement is the B2B segment of eCommerce and the systems mirror each other in a way. If you choose to create a punchout catalog, you must use an eProcurement system, and this is where the punchout system begins to impact your business processes.
With eProcurement, the customer makes the request and your costs per transaction decrease. eProcurement systems often search your suppliers to find the best deal for you and your customer. Not to mention the man hours you save by allowing customers to process their own orders.
There is another problem that comes with creating a punchout catalog. Different buyers may have different contract arrangements. Essentially, a punchout catalog looks a lot like online shopping in that you see an item, the price, usually a part number, and potential availability.
However, you want to ensure that customers are not accessing items that are not permitted under their contract. When considering a punchout system, remember that using a template-based approach will not work. You must consider the needs and shopping habits of your buyers.
Establish a shopping cart response
A cart response occurs when a shopper outside of your company browses the Punchout catalog and then adds the items to their cart. Although this process seems very straightforward, a much more complex series of actions takes place in the backend.
When a shopper adds an item to their shopping cart, the order is sent through your eProcurement system and submitted to your organization for review. In many cases, you can automate the verification process and further reduce the time it takes to process these transactions.
Activate your ERP for electronic orders and confirmations
Many eProcurement systems are aligned with various ERPs such as Sage. Through your ERP, you can review, confirm, and accept the order placed by your customer. At this point, your customer will receive a notification of order acceptance.
Then your eProcurement or ERP should automatically create an invoice, invoice number and save the data for the order. While this is happening, your order has been placed through your supplier for the customer or stock has been deducted to be shipped to the buyer.
ERP integration can help you keep your company’s general rules in order while many people outside your company place orders through you. An ERP helps you ensure that orders move through their entire cycle quickly and accurately, and that you can carefully track your inventory and billing.
The final step is of course payment. After the payment transactions, the order will be completed as completed. When your customer places the order, it’s the same as placing an order, which is where eProcurement and eCommerce are slightly different. That means the customer goes to checkout, the order is approved, and the order goes to the supplier. The supplier then fulfills the order and issues an invoice.
You need to securely store and manage the profiles of your buyers or users of your eProcurement system. Managing your Punchout payment information requires a little more attention to security. They should be able to sign in once and manage their own identity. They want to be sure that the users are specific to the company and not directly to a specific employee of theirs.
Benefits of Punchout Systems
Make sure you let your current clients and prospects know that your punchout is ready. Companies that order in bulk look for this as it simplifies the process for them as well. Ultimately, business process management drove punchout catalogs and made them popular.
Businesses often choose to work with B2B companies that have punchout catalogs because they can receive orders and invoices in a timely manner.
Many companies choose to implement a punchout system to reduce their procurement costs. However, the biggest advantage of a punchout system is the enormous degree of automation. Essentially, with the buyer ordering what they need and the eProcurement and ERP systems doing the rest, the purchasing cycle proceeds with very little relief.
All in all, if you carefully plan and think through your eProcurement choices and create an easy-to-use punchout system, you can reduce a lot of procurement costs. You can save a lot of time, better control your inventory and provide a seamless shopping experience.
Samantha Wallace is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked at several e-commerce companies. She has been involved with technology online for over five years. She is the content advocate for Greenwingtechnology.com.