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Enhance your B2B Hosted Catalog with PO and Invoice Automation        

This blog explores the significant benefits organizations using hosted catalogs can gain by integrating Purchase Order and Invoice Automation features of B2B Connected Commerce.

Stephanie Fagan

VP of Customer Success

Over the past decade, eCommerce has become an important core sales channel for many B2B businesses. As B2B businesses look to deliver a more B2C-like eCommerce offering, efficiency, flexibility and quality customer experience must be top-of-mind.        

However, B2B has unique attributes that can make its path to digital success less straightforward than for B2C. While the US International Trade Association 2024 eCommerce Size and Sales Forecast reports the global B2B eCommerce market is expected to grow at a 14.5% compound annual growth rate through 2026, it also highlights how certain markets and areas are seeing slower take-up.  

This happens because organizational change can be difficult and require many groups to align on the appropriate strategy. Many B2B workflows don’t translate to the more common B2C digital strategies that teams may be familiar with.

The opportunity in these cases is for organizations to identify and adopt those elements of the B2B eCommerce model that deliver value to their specific business use cases. The risk is to see the model as an ‘all or nothing’ solution, and miss out on the substantial benefits that a partial implementation can still offer.     

Hosted or static catalogs are a prime example of this. This blog considers how organizations that use hosted catalogs can deliver substantial benefits by adopting the Purchase Order and Invoice Automation elements of B2B Connected Commerce, and explores how TradeCentric is helping its customers realize that value. 

Why use a hosted catalog when you can have PunchOut?  

In today’s connected digital world, why would a B2B buyer settle for a static file of product and pricing data provided by the vendor, rather than the seamless, B2C-level customer experience of a PunchOut catalog?   

The answer is pretty straightforward. It may be the best solution for the customer, their buying needs, or the sales process required to service that account.

If the buyer organization only orders from a narrow range of products, with a fixed set of attributes, at contracted prices that only change at contract renegotiation, many of the benefits of a PunchOut catalog may not be relevant. 

There may be a requirement to restrict what products staff can order. A static catalog pre-defines this range, while a PunchOut catalog is designed to enable staff to order across a wide and changing product set.   

For a construction or facilities contractor that orders a narrow range of basic materials from a major trade and retail building and home improvement chain, a static hosted catalog of those materials and contracted pricing meets the business need more precisely than access to the chain’s full online catalog.           

How PO and Invoice Automation add value for hosted catalogs 

While a hosted catalog is a more appropriate solution than PunchOut in some B2B cases, this should not prevent buyers and suppliers from realizing other benefits of B2B Connected Commerce in these cases. 

This mindset misses the potential for deploying PO Automation and Invoice Automation from the hosted catalog process to increase efficiency and deliver a greatly enhanced customer experience. 

Instead of manually rekeying order data across systems, automated POs can be generated from an on-premise or flat-file catalog, and flowed into the supplier’s ERP or order management system. 

Getting all order data into a supplier’s system in this way then facilitates automated invoice creation and flow back into the buyer’s procurement systems. 

PO and Invoice Automation delivers a wide range of benefits: 

  • Saving the effort of double data entry across buyer and supplier systems
  • Increasing data accuracy, reducing the cost and time involved in dealing with order errors, and building buyer confidence
  • Speeding up order fulfillment by streamlining the end-to-end process
  • Meeting buyer expectations, as they still expect a streamlined, digital ordering and payment process   

TradeCentric can help you realize the value of PO and Invoice Automation in your hosted/static catalog transactions 

TradeCentric’s Platform offers an efficient PO and Invoice Automation solution for hosted catalog purchasing. 

Flexibility in the solutioning is one the fundamental benefits of partnering with TradeCentric. The platform is designed to scale to the needs of supplier’s in many of the solutions within the Connected Commerce landscape and provide new opportunities with your buyers’ platforms.      

What’s next?

To find out more about how TradeCentric can help you leverage the power of PO and Invoice Automation through your hosted catalog, reach out to me on LinkedIn or contact us

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