To understand Level 2 Punchout catalog (sometimes called a Level II punchout catalog), it may be helpful to take a step back and review Level 1 and Level 2 punchouts. For a general overview on punchouts, see our recent post on The Basics: Punchout 101.
What is Level 1 Punchout?
Level 1 punchout is “direct-to-catalog.” Customers buying from Level 1 punchouts must enter each supplier’s punchout site to search for items within that individual product catalog. Buyers cannot search for products from the eProcurement system.
What is Level 2 Punchout?
Level 2 punchout is “direct-to-product.” It enables buyers to conduct product searches directly from the eProcurement system, pulling search term results from all vendors’ Level 2 punchout catalogs.
Punchout catalogs vary from supplier to supplier, depending upon the supplier’s capabilities and the buying organization’s requirements. And while all punchouts provide an online storefront, Level 2 punchouts allow the buyer to search for vendors’ products directly from within the buyer’s eProcurement system, offering a buying experience that is similar to the way consumers shop for products online.
Buyers can search across multiple vendors who have Level 2 punchout catalogs, use keyword searches, and archive favorite products. Most organizations with Level 2-capable eProcurement software want, and may require Level 2 punchouts to simplify and enhance the buying and selling experience.
The Technology Behind Level 2 Punchouts
Sophisticated punchouts utilize a standardized internet protocol, called cXML, which is designed for enterprise communication between eProcurement applications and e-commerce suppliers. The protocol allows real-time dialogue between an eProcurement system and a supplier’s e-commerce website.
So, Why Does Level 2 Punchout Matter for Sellers?
In part, because your customers may require it, so it becomes necessary to do bo business with them. But the benefits extend beyond that. When buyers within the organization can find your products with keyword searches, your products become more accessible to buyers compared to sellers with Level 1 punchout catalogs. Being more accessible and easier to buy from often equates to repeat sales from buyers who are purchasing through an eProcurement system.
For a more detailed look at punchout catalogs, please download our whitepaper, So Your Customer Wants Punchout. Now What?