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The Power of PunchOut: Enhancing Your Sales Strategy with a PunchOut Store

As more companies embrace eProcurement, it is important to utilize and understand how implementing a PunchOut store can help you drive sales, improve customer satisfaction, and streamline your supplier business strategy. 

What is PunchOut?

PunchOut catalogs are eCommerce storefronts that allow institutions, government agencies, and corporate buyers to access and purchase a supplier’s products directly from their procurement systems. Similar to an online catalog where you would shop for clothing, PunchOut speeds the ordering and approval processes for issuing purchase orders.

PunchOut catalogs have specific requirements that make purchasing simple 

Traditional B2B or B2G purchasing methods can get time consuming and difficult to manage, requiring buyers to visit multiple supplier websites independently. By creating an integrated experience between buyers and suppliers, PunchOut ensures cost-efficient, error-free transactions and strengthens vendor relationships. 

Benefits of PunchOut

The PunchOut process brings numerous benefits to both buyers and suppliers. For buyers, having a unified storefront offers a user-friendly, streamlined shopping experience, reducing manual data entry and the risk of errors. Additionally, it ensures compliance with procurement policies and budget controls. For suppliers, PunchOut fosters closer relationships with buyers, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. It also simplifies the process of managing product catalogs and pricing, as updates are reflected in real-time on the buyer’s procurement system.

Step-by-Step PunchOut Process

Though it may seem complicated, the PunchOut process is actually very simple. Here’s the breakdown on how it works: 

1. Initiation:

The PunchOut process begins when a buyer logs in to their eProcurement system (e.g., an eProcurement platform like EqualLevel Marketplace, Ariba, Coupa, etc). From their dashboard, they initiate the punch out process by selecting the preferred supplier they wish to connect with. This session allows real-time interaction and data exchange between the two platforms. 

2. Shopping:

In order to shop, a buyer is “punched out” to their supplier’s website, seamlessly navigating to the catalog within the eProcurement system. With EqualLevel GO, supplier’s eCommerce websites become built-in extensions of their buyer’s procurement system.

Within the PunchOut catalog, the buyer can browse through the supplier’s products, view detailed descriptions, compare prices, and add items to their cart. All product information, including pricing and availability, is retrieved in real-time from the supplier’s database. 

3. Cart Transfer:

After the buyer has finished shopping, they add selected items to a cart within the PunchOut catalog. When they are finished, the buyer’s cart will be transferred back to their eProcurement system to await approval. 

4. Approval:

Back in the buyer’s eProcurement system, the cart content is reconciled, allowing their organization’s purchasing authority to review the order. 

5. Purchase Generation:

Once the cart is approved, the buyer’s eProcurement system automatically generates a purchase order using cXML coding language containing the information from the PunchOut session. This order is sent to the supplier to fulfill, completing the purchase process.

PunchOut with EqualLevel

PunchOut is a transformative technology that revolutionizes the procurement process for all businesses. By integrating a buyer’s procurement system with their supplier’s catalog, PunchOut enhances user experience, improves operational efficiency, and empowers organizations with valuable data insights to make informed decisions.

With EqualLevel GO, we ensure a seamless and user-friendly PunchOut shopping experience, enabling your buyers to easily access, purchase, and checkout from your catalogs within our system. Our platform has full PunchOut capabilities and empowers clients with unparalleled cost efficiency. Get set up with a personalized PunchOut store toexpand your connections with unlimited access to EqualLevel clients, automate andsimplify the purchasing process, eliminate manual errors, and reduce administrative overhead. Choose EqualLevel to promote your business’ eCommerce excellence.

Further reading:

  • For more information on PunchOut, including guides and other tools, check out punchoutcommerce.com.
  • Click here to learn more about EqualLevel solutions and how they can help you!

Our team of experts is always happy to help, contact us to get started.


GPO Utilizes eProcurement Marketplace to Bring Vendor Catalogs Under One Umbrella

For GPO Catholic Purchasing Services (CPS), the use of PunchOut sites, where suppliers are responsible for their own product listings, is imperative. Handling the descriptions, photos, and other product details for their 200 vendors’ tens of thousands of products, on top of their other critical duties, would prove overwhelming for CPS’s seven employees. Instead, CPS utilizes EqualLevel’s eProcurement marketplace to bring all of their vendors’ catalogs under one umbrella. 

About Catholic Purchasing Services

Founded in 1988 and located in Newton, Massachusetts, CPS began offering products at a discount to their members via a printed catalog before moving their catalog online in 2010. While CPS’s procurement service is offered through the Catholic Church, membership is open to 501(c)(3) faith-based organizations of all denominations. 25 percent of the market share, which is comprises churches, schools, and nursing homes, are CPS members.

CPS brands and partners include KI, OSV, Smith System, National Public Seating, Staples, Xerox, Sherwin Williams, Slabbinck, School Health, Virco, Quadient, Root Candles, Cavanagh, Cintas, and School Specialty, among many others. 

EqualLevel’s eProcurement Marketplace

In 2019, CPS conducted a search for a robust eProcurement system that could be integrated with their existing ERP, NetSuite SuiteCommerce. The organization was impressed with EqualLevel’s partnerships with Staples and other large suppliers. The idea of leveraging EqualLevel’s relationships to offer more vendors and products to their members was appealing. “EqualLevel was by far the best value for the investment,” said O’Hara. “We looked at a lot of other sites that were more expensive and they could not deliver the connections that EqualLevel’s marketplace already had built right in,” she continued. “The technology behind their platform is sound. It gives us a sense of security knowing that EqualLevel is hosting everything and has robust security and connection.”

With just one click, EqualLevel’s solution gives CPS’s roughly 9,000 members access to hundreds of vendors and their products, at special contract pricing and with extended terms. “With EqualLevel’s PunchOut sites, we don’t need to host SKU’s–that’s all done via the suppliers. The marketplace largely supports itself so we don’t have to worry about anything except marketing the site,” said Mary Schell O’Hara, CPS CEO since June 2022. 


CPS’s site includes six critical vendors brought to the marketplace through partnerships with EqualLevel, including Staples. The ability to offer these vendors’ products at a discount to members has had a significant positive impact on the organization’s growth and draw. Since adopting the EqualLevel marketplace in 2019, CPS’s growth in numbers of transactions and dollars has been 25 percent year over year, even with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic factored in.

Sung Oh, EqualLevel’s Vice President of Technical Operations & Support, said of the relationship, “We have enjoyed our partnership with Catholic Purchasing Services and are proud of the tailored marketplace solution we have created to meet their needs. We’ve integrated with their WordPress and NetSuite SuiteCommerce applications for ease of access and a streamlined shopping experience for their members.”

Onboarding New Suppliers

CPS continues to work closely with EqualLevel to bring new vendors to their marketplace. They recently added a partner of many years, Regency Lighting, after receiving requests from members to add a lighting supplier to the site. CPS has been working with Regency Lighting and EqualLevel to connect the supplier’s PunchOut site to the marketplace. “Sung and his team are very easy to work with. We have had no issues with technical help and expertise. The support they have offered has been tremendous,” said O’Hara. Regency Lighting will go live on CPS’s site in early 2023.

The Future for CPS and EqualLevel

In the future, CPS hopes to take advantage of some of the marketplace’s other functionality, including the built-in approval workflow component. This piece allows members to analyze and control spend, as well as put approvals in place. “We are planning to grow the platform by adding new suppliers. We want to leverage EqualLevel’s partnerships and also bring on new vendors. We definitely have EqualLevel in our long term plans,” O’Hara concluded.

For more information on Catholic Purchasing Services, visit www.catholicpurchasing.org.

Click here to read how EqualLevel has helped other cooperatives and GPO’s.  

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