The goal of this solution is to be a resource for suppliers/ vendors who have Salesforce and how their Experience cloud site can be leveraged to integrate with their buyer’s eProcurement systems and looking to learn more about PunchOut commerce. This technology offers many benefits to both buyers and suppliers, but adoption has been slow due to a lack of understanding, innovation, and documentation. We plan to address these issues at techKasetti, with a focus on simplifying the PunchOut Integration using the Salesforce Out of Box integration standards, tools offered by Salesforce platform to fulfill the PunchOut transaction without any need for additional Salesforce Licenses.

Salesforce Experience Cloud Site Integration with eProcurement system.

PunchOut is a technology that connects a buyer’s e-Procurement application (used to purchase goods and services) directly to their suppliers’ eCommerce sites. PunchOut enables a buyer’s employees to shop on suppliers’ Salesforce Experience cloud sites, but complete their purchase in their organization’s e-Procurement application, where approval workflows can be applied and spending can be tracked.

PunchOut Workflow

  1. An employee logs in to their company’s eProcurement system.
  2. The employee selects a supplier eCommerce site to “PunchOut” to (typically by clicking the supplier’s logo).
  3. The employee is taken to the supplier’s (Salesforce Experience cloud) site without requiring them to login. The PunchOut connection will automatically login the employee to their company’s account with the supplier. The supplier’s Experience cloud site is customized for the employee’s company, with a unique homepage, product selection, and pricing.
  4. The employee can browse/search the supplier’s catalog and add items to their shopping cart.
  5. The employee clicks the checkout button / PunchOut button on the supplier’s site (Salesforce Experience Cloud site) and is returned to their eProcurement system. The shopping cart details is sent back to the buyer’s eProcurement system as an XML file.
  6. The employee can create a requisition in their e-Procurement system from the cart and submit the requisition for approval.

Implementations

The Salesforce Experience cloud site Integration Plugin leverages PunchOut standard cXML PunchOut. cXML is the most popular PunchOut standard and is supported by most eProcurement applications.

The Opportunity

PunchOut commerce is a collection of standards that facilitate integration between suppliers’ eCommerce sites (Salesforce Experience Cloud Site) and their buyer’s eProcurement systems. PunchOut commerce technologies enable employees to purchase goods and services from suppliers, from within their organization’s eProcurement application.

PunchOut commerce appeals to buying organizations because it streamlines purchasing processes. Organizations can easily enforce approval workflows and track spend on purchases made in their eProcurement system. As cost-effective eProcurement solutions with cXML support gain market share, we expect the number of buyers with access to PunchOut commerce technologies to increase significantly.

PunchOut commerce presents a huge opportunity for suppliers to integrate directly into their customers’ eProcurement applications. Suppliers with eCommerce sites that are integrated to an organization’s eProcurement system are more accessible to shoppers and tend to receive more orders. B2B commerce integrations should be viewed by suppliers as another channel for receiving orders, in addition to their eCommerce website and phone sales. Suppliers who ignore the importance of integration with their customers’ eProcurement systems will leave their buyers frustrated and possibly looking for another vendor.

As large retailers expand their B2B presence, they too are looking to integrate with their customers through PunchOut. Amazon recognized the potential of PunchOut commerce and in 2014 added support for PunchOut and cXML orders. Furthermore, Amazon became the first supplier to offer a self-service PunchOut setup process which significantly reduces the costs of adding Amazon to an eProcurement system – no emails/phone calls required.

Innovation

Shopping from within an eProcurement system was initially accomplished by loading suppliers’ catalogs into the eProcurement system. CSV is the most common file format used to exchange catalogs, despite its many shortcomings. A number of file formats have been developed to fix the problems with CSV files, but few have managed to gain traction. . In addition to these catalog file issues, importing catalogs is typically a manual practice in most eProcurement systems – automated imports are treated as custom integrations. The lack of adoption of standards and the manual effort required to maintain catalogs places a significant burden on both buyers and suppliers. It doesn’t have to be this way – Amazon has millions of sellers managing their own catalogs. In the late 90’s, PunchOut was introduced as an alternative to managing catalog files.

Summary

Despite the challenges presented above, the future for PunchOut commerce is bright. Readily available Salesforce Experience cloud site PunchOut plugin have made PunchOut more affordable for suppliers with Salesforce Experience cloud site than ever. Customers who have tight budget constraints to spend on additional eCommerce system or don’t have any system, can leverage their existing Salesforce Experience cloud site with this plugin to fully integrated with their customers’ eProcurement systems. Our hope is that by educating suppliers on what PunchOut commerce can do for them along with their Experience cloud, we expect to provide our clients, to provide their buyers with alternate ways of making their business seamless and increase their business with their trading partners.

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