What Is a PunchOut Catalog, and Why Should I Care?


Purchasing organizations are under more pressure than ever to find ways to cut costs and streamline purchasing processes. As a result, adaptable ecommerce technology is becoming increasingly popular among purchasing directors, managers and other decision makers.

A growing part of that overall e-commerce picture among e-procurement users is PunchOuts catalogs.

Forward thinking suppliers are creating powerful opportunities with larger clients by adapting the way they present their products to buyers within e-procurement environments.

What is a PunchOut Catalog, and why should I care?

There’s no way around it…

The plain fact is; if you want to be able to compete in today’s market, and do business with larger clients such as Fortune 1000 and government organizations, you simply need to be PunchOut ready.

Why? It’s simple.

Increased demands on purchasing departments to improve their spend management have created more opportunity for suppliers. And there’s one wide open door that leads to larger companies; those using e-procurement systems to help with their spend management.

These high-priced purchasing systems allow purchasers to consolidate all supplier catalogs into one central location and manage spend more effectively. And this is where PunchOut catalogs come in.

Basically, a PunchOut catalog is a special kind of website catalog. The difference between it and a regular online site or catalog is that it contains only the customer’s specifically requested or contracted items and prices. It’s also specially coded to connect to a company’s purchasing software (e-procurement system).

The PunchOut catalog connects to your customer’s e-procurement system through “transfer protocols” (computer code), and appears to the buyers like a supplier’s website.

Yes, there is more than one way that supplier’s catalog data can show up in an e-procurement system (such as “hosted” or “line item” catalogs). But for buyers looking to access supplier product and pricing data in the most intuitive and user-friendly way, the most preferred method by far is from a PunchOut catalog.

It’s not surprising that many suppliers have either never heard of PunchOuts, or thought they didn’t apply to them. Just a few years ago, PunchOut technology was only the privileged advantage of supply giants. Big box suppliers with limitless resources could connect directly to the biggest clients and customers in the world, while smaller suppliers could only watch from the sidelines.

Thanks to advancements in technology, PunchOuts are more affordable than ever. Now, small and medium businesses, including diversity vendors, can all have a stake in the game.

PunchOut Success Take-Away #1:

If you want to do business with more large companies and organizations, you must know what PunchOuts are and be ready to connect to an e-procurement system with a PunchOut catalog when opportunity strikes.

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