Apples to Oranges: SPS Retail Universe and Ariba Discovery

by | Sep 24, 2014 | 3PLs, Omnichannel, Partners, Retailers, Solutions

When the topic of SPS Retail Universe comes up in the marketplace, we often get the same question: So you’re like Ariba Discovery, right?

Well, not really. Both are online sites that bring buyers and sellers together. Both use terms such as “sourcing” to describe what they do. But that is essentially where the similarities end.

Ariba: a Craigslist for B2B Transactions

Ariba Discovery is used primarily by buyers looking for a specific product or service — typically a one-time purchase of something the buyer will use. If you need shelving for a warehouse expansion, for instance, Ariba Discovery is the perfect place to get your RFP in front of the right people.

Merchandise requests from retailers sometimes appear on Ariba Discovery, but the portal was not designed for this purpose. As a result, retail supply chain professionals have to do some digging to find the information they need to make informed sourcing decisions.

Retail Universe: All About the Merchandise

Unlike Ariba, SPS Retail Universe is focused on connecting suppliers with retailers that buy branded merchandise to be sold to consumers as retail goods. The user experience is literally designed around simplifying communications between retailers, suppliers and 3PLs, with the items itself showcased at the center.

Here’s a quick example to illustrate the difference between the two sites. Let’s say you’re a swimsuit retailer. If you want to buy new barcode readers for checkout, Ariba Discovery is the perfect place to go. But if you want to offer a broader selection of SKUs in your swimsuit category to your customers, Retail Universe is where you should be.

Ariba Discovery SPS Retail Universe
Connects a business looking to buy a product/service with businesses that sell it


Connects suppliers and retailers with store-ready merchandise
Product (good or service) purchased is typically used by the buyer Product (merchandise) purchased is resold to consumers


UX optimized to facilitate one-time product transactions between two businesses


UX optimized to facilitate ongoing connections between suppliers, retailers and 3PLs

If you’ve been using Ariba Discovery to fulfill your merchandising needs, take a closer look at SPS Retail Universe. We guarantee you’ll instantly notice the difference.


SPS Commerce Blog Team


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