What is B2B PunchOut Ecommerce?


B2B Punchout catalogs have revolutionized the procurement process by using digital tools in eCommerce to streamline how businesses order from suppliers. Companies in the robotics and hardware industries know that a smooth procurement system is critical to the company's long-term strategy. 

B2B Punchout systems offer procurement managers a more effective solution to reliable supply logistics in different ways. Let’s look at the elements of B2B eCommerce and why it's crucial for engineering startups.


  1. Understanding E-Procurement in B2B Commerce
  2. Benefits of E-Procurement
  3. What is B2B Punchout Ecommerce?
  4. How Do Punchout catalogs Work?
  5. B2B eCommerce Punchout Integration
  6. Getting Started With Punchout catalogs
  7. Why You Need B2B eCommerce Punchout catalogs
  8. Conclusion

Understanding E-Procurement in B2B Commerce

Punchouts are integrated into the e-procurement system of a business. The e-procurement platform enables the ordering and purchasing of goods and services online. Procurement managers determine spending policies, purchase controls, and inventory management that guide the use of e-procurement systems. B2B punchout catalogs can be integrated into the following e-procurement systems:

  • Standard e-procurement systems – These are ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems used by organizations to manage procurement solutions as a vital part of the business
  • Cloud-based systems – These are hosted on external platforms and enable businesses to scale their e-procurement network since they offer more resources than on-premise infrastructures, such as ERP systems. 

Benefits of E-Procurement

E-procurement offers several benefits for businesses as follows:

  • Automation of tasks – Businesses using e-procurement systems can automate routine processes such as selecting suppliers, sorting contracts, and negotiating prices. Additionally, e-procurement platforms can easily be integrated with tools such as Punchout catalogs, further streamlining procurement.
  • Agility and time consciousness – Sourcing supplies and restocking hardware parts is vital for business longevity. E-commerce paired with Punchout catalogs and other tools ensures that raw materials are sourced and assembled swiftly in the production line.
  • Minimizing errors – Through e-procurement, the margin of error in order placement is significantly reduced, which is vital in robotic and allied industries. E-procurement solutions minimize instances of duplication of orders and over and under purchasing. 

What is B2B Punchout Ecommerce?

A punchout system is an electronic connection between a company's procurement system and a supplier's eCommerce site. Before B2B Punchout systems, procurement officers usually drafted a list of supplies which was then sent to the supplier. 

The Punchout puts a supplier's online store inside the procurement solution for easier access and faster order placement. Punchouts provide many benefits to buyers and suppliers by easing communication and supporting faster requisitions and order placements.

How Do Punchout catalogs Work?

The Punchout catalog creates a bridge between the supplier's virtual storefront and the business ERP system. Punchout catalogs offer a unique end-to-end connection without third-party software, including APIs and plugins. 

With B2B punchout systems, a buyer typically follows the following steps:

  1. The buyer opens their e-procurement system and selects a supplier from a list of vendors. 
  2. The buyer can browse the supplier's store and look through various categories like an online shopper would browse an eCommerce website.
  3. Once the buyer selects the items to purchase, they are added to the cart, and the buyer's punchout session is initiated.
  4. The buyer can then click on the Punchout, and the order is transferred to the e-procurement system, where a purchase order can be placed normally.

B2B eCommerce Punchout Integration

Punchout catalogs can be incorporated into e-procurement systems depending on the decoding software within the platform. There are two main types of integration:

  • Custom integration – A buyer and seller can collaborate to purchase, build or host software that enables the e-commerce and e-procurement platforms to communicate. This approach often involves a ground-up process that may take months to create, test, and deploy. However, it offers a robust integration as its features can be customized to meet the needs of the buyer and the seller.
  • Cloud gateways – Gateways are a viable alternative to custom integration and are more commonly used. Cloud gateways are hosted by third-party providers who offer a wide range of integration solutions that can process data from e-commerce and e-procurement platforms. They are cheaper as they utilize economies of scale to serve multiple buyers and sellers.

Getting Started With Punchout catalogs

If you are not currently using punchout catalogs for your business, you may consider the following to get started:

  • Determine if your customers might benefit – Before investing in a punchout catalog service, you can find out if it meets an existing need. For instance, as a supplier, if most of your buyers use e-procurement systems, a punchout catalog might significantly improve the procurement of hardware supplies. 
  • Ensure you have the right technology to integrate punchout catalogs – In some cases, the existing e-commerce platform may not be the best fit for a punchout catalog. You can opt to migrate it to a different platform that offers better integration with your customers' e-procurement platforms.
  • Getting your team on board – Punchout catalogs offer many benefits but may be limited by your team's adoption rate. Educating your sales team on the potential benefits before investing in a punchout service is essential.
  • Sell the service – It's also essential to communicate the benefits of punchout catalogs to sellers and buyers for mutual benefit. Punchout catalogs require partnerships between two parties agreeing on its implementation for a better business experience.

Why You Need B2B eCommerce Punchout catalogs

Punchout services help businesses build better relationships with buyers and sellers by offering the following benefits:

Reducing Costs

Punchout catalogs can also help cut costs, especially for businesses requiring several staff to work on requisitions, ordering, and settling invoices. They also do away with the need for additional systems to handle these tasks as they can be carried out simultaneously within fewer platforms.

Reducing Errors

Discrepancies between purchase orders and requisition lists are common in businesses that handle these processes separately. Punchout catalogs ensure purchase orders are generated automatically within the e-procurement system and sent to suppliers for fulfillment.

Save More Time

Punchout catalogs create a seamless connection between the e-procurement system and the vendor's e-commerce platform, saving time by reducing the steps required to place an order. Efficient businesses automate as much as possible as this leads to more accuracy, saving time in the long run by ensuring orders are placed and delivered on time.

Up-to-date information

Price adjustments are communicated in real-time with punchout integration. Buyers can access e-commerce platforms directly and note any price changes without the hassle of emails. This helps them to budget accordingly beforehand to accommodate any changes in prices. Furthermore, items out of stock can be quickly communicated to allow buyers to seek alternative suppliers without compromising long-standing relationships.

Verifying suppliers

Only verified suppliers appear on the vendors' list since punchout integrations can only access authorized eCommerce platforms. This helps in quality control and prevents unauthorized purchases by restricting order placement to the procurement staff. All orders are routed back to the company's e-procurement app; therefore, dark purchases are minimized.


Punchout catalogs can drastically improve procurement in several ways. They can be integrated into existing e-commerce and e-procurement platforms and help to make the purchase experience better for buyers and sellers. Punchout catalogs in B2B are the link between modern business systems that aim to make business more efficient and smoother for better service delivery.

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