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Coupa Success Portal

Best Practices for Loading Catalogs


To make loading catalogs into Coupa easier, we've compiled some tips for you.


  • Always use the same method to load a catalog into Coupa.
  • If you initially load a catalog on behalf of the supplier, use the Suppliers > Catalogs method. This will allow the supplier to take over maintenance of that catalog through the Coupa Supplier Portal.
  • Ensure item name and description are unique, regardless of which loader method is used or the associated uniqueness criteria.
  • Use good data!


  • Don't use generic item names  (Bad: "iPhone". Good: "iPhone 7 Plus 128GB Jet Black")
  • Don't mix and match item loading methods.
  • Never use incomplete data.
  • Avoid using the wrong loader for the volume of data you need to load.

Loading Methods

Object Method Customer Effort Additional Information
Supplier Catalog loaded by supplier Coupa Supplier Portal 2 hours
  • Customer sends invitation to supplier via Coupa GUI
  • Supplier clicks on link to register
  • Catalog uploaded by Supplier
  • Customer reviews & approves Catalog
Supplier Catalog loaded by customer Coupa platform:
Suppliers > Catalogs
1 hour
  • Supplier emails the catalog file to the customer
  • Customer loads the file on behalf of the supplier
  • Customer reviews & approves Catalog
Internal Catalog Coupa platform:
Setup > Items
2 hours
  • Customer creates the catalog content
  • These items are internal only and will never be maintained by the supplier
  • No approval or review is required
Supplier Punchout Site cXML 8 hours
Duration 2-4 weeks (depending on supplier’s efforts)
  • Customer inputs supplier provided credentials in Coupa UI and tests with supplier
  • Customer does not need developer skills or IT resources to complete
sFTP Loader CSV 3 hours effort per sftp account
  • Customer creates the catalog csv file
  • Places file on sftp server
  • No approval or review is required. Catalog items will be available for purchase once loaded

Item Uniqueness

Field Required? Item Loader Supplier Catalog Loader/CSP  sFTP Loader
Name Y x x ** x
Description Y      
Commodity Y      
UOM Y      
Item Number Y   x x
Supplier * Y x x x
Contract Number * Y x   x
Price * Y     x
Currency * Y      
Supplier Part Number * Y   x x
Auxiliary Part Number * N   x ***  

* These fields are supplier specific. 
** This is changed in R20 and Name will become part of the uniqueness criteria for the Catalog Loader
*** Becomes part of the uniqueness if used, although field is not mandatory

Loader Decision Tree

decision tree.png

* Spot check of accurate data to be periodically carried out as no approval is required before items are available to be purchased.

Testing Best Practices


  • Load the catalog to your TEST environment, try with a few items only initially to test the data format is correct.
  • Validate that the data has loaded correctly, visibility of the items is accurate and there are no duplicate items.
  • Once the testing is completed and sign-off as correct load the catalog to your PROD environment.


  • Don't load catalog directly to Production without testing first.
  • Do not mix the loaders. Use the same loader in both TEST and PROD to ensure the load will be successful when the catalog is loaded in Production.
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