Below is an excerpt from 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 supports user interaction between remote sites…
The most widely used application of Punchout today is called “Procurement Punchout”. In simple terms, “Procurement Punchout” lets buyers shop and place orders at e-commerce web stores (one application) directly from their e-procurement system (another application), securely over the web (user interaction between remote sites.)
So why should B2B sellers care? Well, the biggest users of e-procurement systems (e.g. Coupa, Ariba, iValua, SAP SRM, Oracle iProcure, Jaggaer 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 support Procurement Punchout.
Why? Today, every e-procurement system (and most ERP systems too) come with a built-in Punchout capability, so B2B buyers are ready and waiting for Punchout-ready suppliers to engage.
If you don’t have an e-commerce web store, all is not lost. The good news is, unlike ten, even five years ago, implementing an e-commerce web store will no longer “break the bank”; and thanks to Punchout Solutions vendors (yes, they exist, and in full disclosure, this blog is sponsored by one), neither will adding Punchout capability to your web store.
Still not convinced you need Punchout? Amazon Business added Punchout capability their site in late 2015. By the end of 2018, their sales increased by more than 10X, from under $1B to over $10B (we will do a dedicated post on this soon.) Punchout worked for Amazon, it can work for you too.
Simply put, when implemented, Punchout can be the engine that drives for B2B e-commerce to the next level for both buyers and sellers!