Today’s business climate is becoming increasingly more oriented toward e-commerce. And the proof is all around us. Gone are the days of having to spend an entire Saturday afternoon running errands and getting your shopping done. Now you can get your shopping done on the same thing you used to use to call your parents.
This year e-commerce accounted for more than 9 percent of all commerce, and the number is expected to rise to about 12.5 percent by the year 2020. What’s that mean for you as a business owner? It means there is a vast amount of untapped potential for you to grow your business.
And the most effective tool you can use to ride the wave of this growing trend? Punchout Catalogs.
What is a PunchOut Catalog
Punchout catalogs are the place where you get to connect clients directly to your inventory without ever having to leave their procurement system. Basically what this means is that buyers can shop in a way resembling online consumer shopping.
This system of catalogs is giving forward-thinking business owners to improve their bottom lines, and we’re talking drastic improvements.
Who Uses PunchOut Systems
PunchOut systems are used by anybody who buys large quantities of goods on a consistent basis. We’re talking government organizations, schools, and large retail outlets like Best Buy, Costco, Walmart, and…. Well you get the picture.
What this means for a business not using PunchOut systems is simple; they don’t have access to the highest spending clients. Thankfully, there are people out there who are eager to get your company PunchOut ready.
Why are PunchOut Catalogs Necessary
Simply put, if you want to be competitive (especially in the B2B space), you MUST be utilizing punch out technology. Is your goal is to do business with dominant fortune 1000 (maybe even fortune 500) companies? If so, you’ll have to be using punch-out catalogs.
Punchout catalogs are made specifically for your clients making their shopping quick and painless. The obvious benefit to that is customer loyalty.
Preferred Buying Method
Large buying organizations want to do work with suppliers who are punchout ready. Which means, the largest suppliers in the world are getting the largest deals, with the most prominent firms, because they have access to this technology. Thankfully, small to mid-sized firms now have access to these systems. Bringing with it, the opportunity to connect with major firms.
Ascend to the Top
Each year companies are spending billions of dollars through e-procurement systems, and only a select few suppliers have access to those billions. At least, until now.
New technologies are cropping up every day that allow YOU to have access to those billions too.
All you have to do is have a system in place that allows buyers to move seamlessly from their procurement systems, and into your web-based catalog — the outcome; more purchases for them and easy sales for you.
Take the Competitive Advantage
When I was in business school, professors never stopped stressing to me that a business’s number one priority is to ‘make money.’ Not a difficult assessment to make – why do any of us get up in the morning and work? The purpose of stressing that to me on a daily basis wasn’t because they thought they were giving anyone unique insight. Instead, it was to get us used to the idea of always looking for new ways (but only ethical ways) to turn higher profit margins.
And the one way, that always turned out the best is to gain the competitive edge over your competition. Here are some ways that PunchOut connections give you the competitive advantage.
Buyers Crave the Functionality
This type of functionality is so simple to use, that buyers jump on the opportunity to work with firms that are PunchOut compatible. Think of it as the Amazon Prime of B2B commerce; everything you are looking to buy is already in the catalog, and all you have to do is press the purchase button.
This is especially advantageous for winning over clients who need to purchase from you on a consistent basis.
Expand the Number of Firms you Can do Business with
This one ties in the first bullet. Since buyers are looking for the easiest way to get their goods without any hiccups, they tend to flock to vendors who can accommodate them best. In fact, as time goes on many major companies will expect PunchOut capabilities.
So if you’re an early adopter of PunchOut Catalogs, then you’ll be ahead of the game when the time comes to make the change.
Access to Larger Clients
The biggest companies are already solely doing business with suppliers that are PunchOut ready. Which means, if you aren’t, then you’ve already lost out on a ton of highly profitable business relationships.
Out-bid Your Competition
Most mid-sized businesses aren’t PunchOut ready, and almost zero small businesses are. If you’re the guy that can offer ease of access to your catalogs, then you’ll be the guy that wins the bid. A few well-timed clients who are ecstatic with your service can catapult your company to heights that you’ve only previously dreamed of.
The Future of E-commerce
It’s really simple; PunchOut Catalogs are a necessity if you want your firm to reach its maximum potential. Sure, you can still do alright without it. But you’re in business for one reason, to maximize profits. And that’s what this ability allows.
You’ll get access to a larger base of clients, plus your system immediately becomes infinitely smoother and more straightforward to use. It’s great for your client, which means it’s also great for you.
Buyers are looking for speed and flexibility; punchout is the avenue to offer that to your clients. And guess what, it’s not just how you’re going to get clients today. It’s also how you are going to be able to retain clients in the future.
This technology is the future of E-Commerce, and getting in on the ground floor is going to be your ticket to the top.
Melissa Stanley is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked in several eCommerce companies so far. She has been covering technology online for over five years. She is Client Service Manager of PCGT – PunchOut Catalogs.