Frequently Asked Questions: PunchOut Catalogs

Depending on your customers' needs, PunchOut Catalogs can be simple product sites, or they can be very complex in structure and function. Making sure you are meeting the exact requirements of a bid or contract can be overwhelming. Many times, the best place to start is with a simple conversation with an expert.

For over 15 years, we've connected suppliers to Fortune 500 companies, State governments and more. We'll be happy to help analyze what your best PunchOut solution is for you and your customers' needs. Click here for a free evaluation of your needs and to see this powerful system in action.

In the meantime, here are some answers to some common questions we get about PunchOut Catalogs:

1) What is a Punchout Catalog?

A Punchout catalog is an online catalog (generally a vendor catalog) that is created with standard Punchout protocols such as cXML punchout which are used to connect the punchout website to a client's eprocurement system (i.e. Ariba, SAP, Oracle, Jaggaer(SciQuest), Peoplesoft, etc). It is hosted and maintained by the vendor.

The punchout catalog's user interface is designed to provide the buyer with a user-friendly shopping experience.  The term "punchout" refers to the act of the buyer selecting a link that "punches out" of the client's eprocurement system to a website managed by the vendor which is an online version of their product and/or service "catalog".

Watch this video to learn more about punchout catalogs

2) What is a CIF Catalog?  

CIF stands  for Catalog Interchange Format.  A standard language for a list format of products and services and their attributes. It is also referred to as a hosted catalog or line item catalog. It's maintained by either the buyer or the vendor.  The biggest negative to the CIF catalog is the large amount of resources needed to keep the CIF catalog up to date and relevant. Changes are also not real time because they require a re-upload of the data.  

3) What is a Level 2 punchout catalog?

A level 2 punchout enables punchout suppliers to make their catalog searchable within the buyer's product search. When a buyers searches their eprocurement system the product will appear in the search results and a link will be displayed next to the product which will take the user to that punchout catalog (usually to that specific product page on the supplier’s punch-out site. For example, if the buyer searches their eprocurement system for a digital camera model A123, then the search result returns a link straight to the page of the supplier's punchout catalog that is designated for the digital camera A123.

4) Why would I use a Punchout Catalog instead of a Hosted Catalog/CIF Catalog?

A hosted catalog (also referred to as CIF catalog) limits your ability to sell your product to your buyer.  With a PunchOut website you can create an Amazon like experience where you can provide more information about your product, control multilevel or custom pricing, provide more images, and upsell related products on the same landing page. In addition, as a vendor you have more control over keeping items on the site up to date.

5) What eprocurement systems can you create a punchout for?

CoreXpand can connect you to any e-procurement system or e-procurement protocol including but not limited to ...

Protocols & Message Formats

  • Flat files
  • ANSI x12
  • SOAP
  • EdiFact
  • CSV
  • RosettaNet
  • TapOut
  • Oracle XML
  • EDI Van
  • EDI Software
  • AS2
  • Ariba Punchout
  • XML
  • cXML
  • API
  • OCI Roundtrip
  • S-FTP
  • SAP Idocs


Simply contact us for a demonstration of the most exceptional PunchOut technology available. There’s no obligation… no pressure… just solutions for your PunchOut needs.

6) I need multiple punchout catalogs and other types of e-procurement connections.  Can I use the Punchout CX system to do that?

The CoreXpand system is designed for you to easily manage multiple types of sites and connections. Your product data is stored centrally so that you only have to enter the product data once. Pricing and site design is customizable for each punchout site individually, but they're all controlled from one easy to use administration control panel.

7) Can I control pricing between different punchout catalogs? 

CoreXpand understands that each relationship you have with your vendor or buyer is a unique relationship. For some buyers you may have contracts that stipulate the price and for other buyers you may need a tiered pricing model.   CoreXpand has made our b2b ecommerce solution adaptable and flexible for that reason.
Whether you need to offer tiered pricing or single item pricing or a custom pricing calculation, the solution can accommodate your pricing needs for each individual punchout catalog.

8) Is a punchout catalog useful for a service provider?

Definitely. There are many different ways a service provider can use a punchout catalog to benefit their business.  Give us a call or request a consult to the right and we'll discuss your particular situation.

9) How many product variations does your system support?

CoreXpand has worked with clients with over 500,000 SKUS and other clients with less than 10 SKUS.  Our system can also support multiple variations. For example, if you have a product that requires customizations and can have several variations based on color, logo, size etc. We can help with managing the multiple line items plus the running charges.

10) What is the cost of a punchout catalog ?

Every situation is unique for our customers. You may need 1 punchout or you may need multiple punchouts.  Please request a consult so that we can help determine what the right solution is for you and where is the best place to start.  We can guarantee that our prices are very competitive and cost effective.   Our solution is also very scalable so you can start with as little as 1 connection and use the ROI on the first punchout to grow into more as your business grows.

11) What is the process for setting up a punchout catalog and connecting it to my client's eprocurement system?

Every buyer's eprocurement system is setup differently and their requirements differ.  CoreXpand works with the buyer and our customer to make sure that the connection is working smoothly.  Here's a basic punchout creation cycle that is a general guideline of what to expect