As previously introduced in blog one about e-Catalogues, an electronic catalogue is a web resource that provides information on products/services presented and sold by a vendor which supports online ordering and payment capabilities. Online catalogues streamline the ordering for standard materials.
At B2Be, we create client-branded portals with built-in rate card pricing and integrated dynamic artwork templates for customization purposes.
We know you have more questions about e-catalogues, so let us answer our frequently asked ones for you…
What is a PunchOut catalogue?
A punchout catalogue is an e-procurement solution providing access to suppliers catalogues from the website interface of a vendor.
A Punch-Out catalogue in technical terms is an online seller catalogue that has been made through a catalogue interface that supports the procurement associated with the Punch-Out site.
This solution allows the direct connection between ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or an e-procurement system of the buyer with the storefront of the supplier.
In simple terms, a customer ‘punches out’ a procurement application to the original site gaining access to the supplier’s catalogue and they then have the ability to add items to their shopping cart.
What does CIF stand for?
There is a lot of jargon used within the industry and we are here to make this more understandable.
CIF stands for Catalogue Interchange Format. It is a digital file format that is used to electronically communicate service and/or product catalogue from the supplier to the buyer. You may now be asking ’What is CIF’ – CIF is a hierarchical CSV (comma separated variable), a double-quoted format that is comprised of a file header, line data and a file trailer.
This structured format allows parent-child relationships such as size and colour apparel and product matrixes that are represented with small amounts of overhead.
Through this standard suppliers are allowed to publish with ease catalogues and buyers can then with ease import them making it easier for management as less time is spent focusing on mundane tasks.
What are the advantages and differences of e-Catalogues that are accessible in Punch-Out compared to those based on CIF?
There are many advantages to catalogues, especially those available in Punchout compared to those based on CIF here are just a few comparison points.
Both types of catalogues want suppliers to offer their products and services to their customers, the objectives of an electronic catalogue accessible in Punch-Out mode and those of an electronic catalogue based on the CIF (Catalogue Interchange Format) are the same.
However, these two applications are opposed. The evolutions of modem B2B environments prefer frequently the Punch-Out approach. There are also differences between the catalogues, such as a CIF based catalogue is ideal for simple services that do not offer a variety of options or configurations. If the catalogue is small it will not necessitate a large CIF file and updates will be performed with ease.
As of today, the trend is to offer products or services that are the most adapted to the needs of customers it is imperative to be able to rely on an approach that allows such scalability and flexibility. In these conditions, it is less and less interesting to use an approach rather adapted to static information, frozen prices, and non-customizable products, such as that offered by the CIF format.
On the other hand, the products sold different options or configurations, if the content of the catalogue and a large number of products of the catalogue is likely to change several times a year, then the limitation of the CIF format becomes very issues.
On the contrary, an e-catalogue with the Punch-Out capability will be able to offer products that can be easily configured and personalised with prices that will be updated in real-time and provide relevant, comprehensive and up to date information.
What is the management of product information with Punch-Out:
- To correctly represent categories, groups or product families
- Display all necessary information for the products without limitation
- Immediately provide the customer with stock availability information, order confirmation, and delivery dates
- To have an electronic catalogue used by the different purchasing systems of different customers
- Having to establish catalogue update feeds for each of the clients
- To communicate in real-time the prices and availability of the desired product
- To relay the decided marketing and commercial strategies for certain products
- To personalise the commercial offers vis-à-vis each of the customers allowing to tighten the relations between the commercial partners
- Update electronic catalogues as often as necessary to reflect changes and to correct errors
Does your organization need a solution that allows you to sell through new channels or to simply reach new markets or territories?