Below is the Wikipedia definition of PunchOut…
PunchOut is a protocol for used interactive sessions managed across the Internet, a communication from one application to another, achieved through a dialog of real-time, synchronous cXML messages, which support user interaction at a remote site. This protocol is most commonly used today in the form of Procurement PunchOut, which specifically supports B2B interactions between a buying organization’s e-procurement application and their supplier’s eCommerce web stores…
Translated for us non-technical folks, PunchOut integrates your e-commerce web store (one application) with your customer’s e-procurement systems (another application), over the web, allowing your customers can shop and place orders directly from their e-procurement system (remote site.)
In even simpler terms, PunchOut connects suppliers (aka B2B sellers) to their customers (B2B buyers) over the web.
So why should B2B sellers care? The biggest users of e-procurement systems (e.g. Coupa, Ariba, iValua, SAP SRM, Oracle iProcure, BuyerQuest, Birchstreet, Jaggaer / SciQuest to name a few) now, and in the future, are Fortune 5000 companies. And according to The Hackett Group, e-procurement system usage will triple by 2021.
If you plan on selling to Fortune 5000 companies, just having an e-commerce web store isn’t good enough – it must also be PunchOut-ready.
If you don’t have an e-commerce web store yet, all is not lost. The good news is, that unlike ten, even five years ago, implementing a web store will no longer “break the bank”; and thanks to PunchOut Solutions vendors, neither will adding PunchOut capability.
But the clock is ticking. Every e-procurement system (and most ERP systems too) already come with a built-in PunchOut capability, so every day, more and more B2B buyers are ready and waiting for PunchOut-ready suppliers to engage with them.
Still not convinced you need PunchOut? Listen to this. Amazon Business added PunchOut capability their site in late 2015. By the end of 2018, their sales increased 10X (we will do a dedicated post on this soon.) PunchOut worked for Amazon, it can work for you too.