SL39 #2.png


Say you have a three-year contract to sell motors and bearings to a customer. Meanwhile, you offer a great line of janitorial supplies you know the company might also need. Yet because you lack a way to show your selection to the company’s end users, they don’t even realize it exists.

Or maybe you’re trying to sell your products to a prospective customer who currently buys from one of your competitors. You know you can deliver higher quality and better service for the same price—but despite your best efforts, you just can’t seem to get a foot in the door.

If scenarios like these sound familiar, take heart: Ariba Spot Buy may be the perfect channel to help you break through such barriers. By putting your catalog in front of thousands of customers you couldn’t reach before, this exciting program lets you tap into a vast new area of potential sales.



Spot buys: Little name, huge opportunity


Spot buys—the non-strategic yet often sizable purchases that buying organizations make outside their formal sourcing process—occur for a variety of reasons. They can include one-time, occasional, or emergency purchases; hard-to-anticipate or non-catalog items; and purchases in new commodity areas. And while they may sound insignificant, the opposite is actually true. Spot buys cover a broad range of both standard and unique product categories, and comprise a whopping 32% of indirect spend for today’s buying organizations.1

Traditionally, however, spot buys have been rather slippery fish. Because they occur in a random, non-controlled manner, spot buys are difficult for buying organizations to manage. And for suppliers, that same unpredictability makes it hard to access spot buy business in any systematic way.



Ariba Spot Buy changes the game


The introduction of Ariba Spot Buy is transforming this situation. Buyers can now use Ariba Spot Buy to make spot buys right within their own procurement applications, giving them visibility and control over what was formerly an unmanaged area of spend. And by participating in Ariba Spot Buy, you can become part of an important new ecosystem of supply they use to find and purchase items not available in their existing corporate catalogs. The program makes your catalog available on the desktops and mobile devices of these buyers, giving you exposure to new customers on Ariba Network and helping you expand sales with existing customers.2



Opening the door to previously unavailable sales


A key benefit of Ariba Spot Buy is the chance it gives you to compete for business from large Global 2000 and Fortune 500 buying organizations that might otherwise be difficult to reach.

For ErgoWorks, a company that provides ergonomics-focused services and products and has used Ariba Network for 16 years, that means a lot. “This is an exciting opportunity for ErgoWorks, because it gives us visibility to hundreds of SAP Ariba companies and buyers we wouldn’t have had access to before,” says CEO and founder Anne Kramer.“Marketing for a small company can be challenging to get an audience with this type of customer.”


Brady Seiberlich of National Business Furniture has a similar view. “Ariba Spot Buy offers us an option to connect with customers that we would not normally connect with on Ariba Network because of what we sell,” he says. “It gives us the unique ability to expand our customer base while also presenting our product line to customers looking to make one-off purchases.”




How does Ariba Spot Buy work for Ariba Network suppliers?


As a supplier in the program, you’ll manage your Ariba Spot Buy catalogs through a separate catalog administration console and adhere to a slightly different set of CIF validation rules. However, PO cXML exchange, order confirmations, and advanced ship notices follow the regular Ariba Network process. And if you’ve already integrated your system with Ariba Network, you can leverage much of that work as well. The end result is a simplified, streamlined process that benefits both you and your customers. Here’s an example of how it typically works:


  1. Mary needs to purchase a new forklift and several other pieces of equipment for her company’s loading dock. She logs into her Ariba cloud procurement system, where she sees the Ariba Spot Buy catalog alongside her contractual catalogs.
  2. She conducts a search, finds the best price and selection from your product offerings in the Ariba Spot Buy catalog, and adds the items to her cart.
  3. A purchase request is issued and submitted to an approval workflow through the Ariba cloud procurement system that Mary’s company uses.
  4. Once approved by her procurement team, Mary’s purchase request is submitted to Ariba Network for routing, and the order comes to you.
  5. You send back an order confirmation, then charge her company payment card.
  6. A courier picks up Mary’s purchases for delivery, getting them to her quickly, and an advanced ship notice is sent out with a tracking number.
  7. You send Level 2 payment card reporting, including the PO number, allowing Mary’s company to reconcile the payment card purchase.
  8. Mary appreciates the automated reporting as well as the speed and ease of doing business with you. The convenience of buying her equipment within the company procurement system makes her happy too, since she won’t need to file an expense report or submit receipts.
  9. You get noticed and gain an opportunity to deliver repeat business to Mary’s company.

Is the program right for you?


Ariba Spot Buy is available to a limited number of qualified suppliers across a wide array of categories. By applying now, you could be among the first to join this growing ecosystem of on-demand content. Applicants go through a selection process carefully designed to optimize results for both buyers and suppliers. To qualify, your company must be:


  • A supplier on Ariba Network
  • A recognized brand with commodities that meet Ariba Spot Buy demand
  • Able to meet regulatory and risk parameters
  • Able to build, integrate, and maintain an Ariba Spot Buy catalog


You’ll also need to meet various other requirements, including delivery of:


  • Enriched catalog content, including images, video, descriptions, and specifications
  • Shipping fees and options that you provide to the buyer at the time of purchase
  • Payment processing capabilities that allow you to accept various forms of payment cards (AMEX, Visa, MasterCard)
  • Level 2 (including PO number) or Level 3 payment card processing, with Level 2 data as the minimum and Level 3 preferred
  • Order confirmations and advanced ship notices delivered through Ariba Network
  • Filtering capabilities to ensure that banned commodities do not show up in search queries, as well as a mechanism to support screening for fraud/risk mitigation
  • Commodity taxonomy based on UNSPSC (v90501) codes; the latest versions are acceptable


And though demand exists for all types of supply, the following are especially welcome: office supply and furniture, life science, electrical and test equipment, MRO and industrial supplies, facilities and maintenance, and other categories such as promotional items and employee gifts.



Get started today

To apply for Ariba Spot Buy or to request more information, send an email to based on “Using Technology to Streamline Tactical Sourcing,” The Hackett Group, 2013, and SAP Ariba Customer Council research, 2014.

2Ariba Spot Buy is currently available only for US-based buyers and suppliers.