Do you want to give your employees a familiar and intuitive online shopping experience, but don’t want to manage catalogs? In my last blog I talked about internal versus external content and a best practice for external catalogs – or punch out catalogs. To recap, an external catalog can be deployed where prices change frequently or when you don’t want to manage internal catalog content. Suppliers will manage catalogs on the company’s behalf and employees will punch out to the catalog to return products and services to the procurement system. However, for companies with multiple catalogs, how do employees know which catalog to search?
To point users to the right catalog we can give them search results that tell them the right catalog to open given the product, service, or category they want to purchase. The search results can even take users to a specific page in the external catalog. This is level 2 punch-out – internal catalog content that is searchable by users and can be used to direct the employees to the right external catalog content. With Level 2 content, companies stay consistent with a use case that starts with search. Most people who use Internet searches, such as Google search, are very familiar with this use case.
Level 2 catalog content can direct users to very specific locations in the external catalog – store, aisle, or shelf.
- Store – points the user to the landing page of the catalog where the employee can branch to the appropriate category or product
- Aisle – points the user to the specific category page where the employee can find their product or service among others in the category
- Shelf – points the user to product page with the detailed product descriptions.
For companies that like the supplier-managed external catalogs, Level 2 should be adopted to provide users with guidance on where to purchase. Typically these pointers do not need frequent updates so the catalog management for these internal catalog items is largely a one-time setup. Some suppliers will even provide Level 2 data for their customers, particularly for top selling items. Take advantage of level 2 data. Your users will appreciate the help and your company will continue to stay on contract and stay with approved suppliers.