Did you know that Level 2 Ariba PunchOut™ is a great way to grow your business? Perhaps you already use Level 1 PunchOut, which gives your customers with procurement systems a fast, direct way to use your website as a catalog. But Level 2 PunchOut lets you take those benefits even further. By providing advanced search capabilities, richer and more specific content, and a more consumerized, Amazon.com-like shopping experience—capabilities that today’s buyers increasingly demand—L2 PunchOut can help you boost business visibility, attract more customers, and drive up sales.
Yet how do you know if Level 2 is right for you? Do the benefits it offers make implementation worthwhile? And if so, what’s the best way to get started? Supply Lines talked with Dawn Fisher, senior catalog knowledge expert at Ariba, to get answers to these questions.
How Can L2 PunchOut Benefit My Business?
While both L1 and L2 PunchOut offer a wide range of benefits over static CIF catalogs, L2 functionality offers several key advantages over L1. “Level 1 gives buyers a ‘front door’ to access a specific seller website: they punch out first to Ariba, and then to the storefront site,” Dawn explains. While this offers plenty of advantages, it also presents some challenges:
- It requires end users to learn multiple search mechanisms on different seller sites, so it’s harder for them to make purchases
- It requires users to go to at least two locations before they can begin searching
L2 PunchOut eliminates these problems and builds on the capabilities of L1 by adding a number of key benefits, including:
- The more consumerized shopping experience your customers want. Developed to meet requests for a more consistent purchasing experience, L2 catalogs simplify the buying process by letting users conduct product searches within their own procurement application, such as Ariba Buyer™ or Ariba Procure-to-Pay™. This means users only need to learn one UI and search mechanism, rather than a different one for every seller website. Since the navigation is already comfortable and familiar, they can easily find the catalog items you want to sell—so you don’t lose the business to non-catalog purchases. “No user likes navigating through 10 different supplier sites to find what they want to buy,” Dawn notes. “With Level 2, they don’t have to.” Higher compliance also helps customers by enabling them to better manage their spend.
- New ways to boost sales. L2 catalogs offer multiple resources that you can leverage to increase sales, such as:
- Relevance ranking and other advanced features that help push your products higher in search results
- Greater flexibility in positioning what you sell by including hierarchical attributes that specify how catalog items are displayed, directing users to store, aisle, shelf, or product levels
- Emphasis on unique selling characteristics by highlighting catalog items with icons that indicate whether they’re green, preferred, contracted, or have similar attributes
- Support for favorites and kits that allows users to quickly select and save favorites from your site to make repeat purchases fast and easy, and/or create kits of multiple items for aggregated purchases
- Enhanced search capabilities. The item-level search capabilities provided in L2 enable buyers to use more granular details to find your items faster directly through Ariba. “Level 2 catalogs support detailed descriptions, attribute-level key words, refinement support, and images, all of which help users find needed items quickly and easily,” Dawn says. This translates to higher sales for you.
How Do I Know if L2 Is Right for Me?
While your decision to implement L2 PunchOut may be driven by a customer’s request, you can also adopt it proactively. “If you already have a Level 1 PunchOut site, moving up to Level 2 requires only a bit of extra work while adding major benefits,” Dawn says. “You capture more occasional users and drive up repeat purchases, and your customers get the user experience they want to help them maximize catalog spend.” Even if you’re just launching your first PunchOut catalog, the additional effort required to provide L2 capabilities can pay off handsomely for your business.
How Can I Get Started?
Getting started with L2 PunchOut is fairly easy. The Level 2 PunchOut Functionality Guide provides an overview of Level 2 along with formatting information, content and site requirements, and a sample index
catalog. You can obtain additional documentation and guidance by writing to email@example.com. For answers to specific technical questions, log in to your account at supplier.ariba.com and contact
Ariba Network Technical Support.