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Get Started on B2B eCommerce
with Our Sample RFP Template
Creating a Request For Proposal from scratch can be challenging and time-consuming. That’s why we’ve collected the most important business and technical questions any company should ask when researching B2B eCommerce vendors.
Fill in the form to download the template for free:
What is an RFP template?
This is a sample request for proposal (RFP) template that you can download, modify, and compile according to your needs. It’s an evaluation of B2B eCommerce capabilities or online marketplace features as demonstrated by your shortlisted vendor.
How to use an RFP?
As you get your RFP responses back, you can leave them as is, or resubmit a new RFP to reflect their feedback. Once you receive all the proposals, you can move on to the negotiation phase, or continue narrowing down your potential vendors with more detailed questions.
Who does an RFP help?
Whether it’s your first time launching a B2B eCommerce project or you’re replatforming your existing website, this B2B eCommerce RFP template will be helpful for both in-house teams of B2B commerce companies, as well as for consultants/agencies researching different vendors on their client’s behalf.
What does a sample RFP template include?
We have collected the most essential questions you should ask a B2B eCommerce vendor to quickly realize if they can fit your business' B2B eCommerce requirements both at present and in the future. This B2B eCommerce RFP template is offered as an Excel spreadsheet so you can download it, add/delete questions, and re-use it as needed.
Vendor Profile Questionnaire
A profile you should fill out on each vendor before starting the conversation will give you a better understanding of their background, current fit, and potential for the future.
B2B eCommerce Feature List
A structured list of the B2B features you must inquire about, such as administrative capabilities, catalog management, pricing, ordering, checkout flows, reporting, marketing, and more.
A cheat sheet your CIO will appreciate covering questions about eCommerce project security, integrations, APIs, headless technologies, and IT infrastructure required to support the system.
Licensing and Pricing Questionnaire
All the must-ask tricky questions that will help you identify any implementation costs, hidden fees, and additional expenses some vendors would never voice by themselves.
Questions and Answers
What is the difference between an RFI, RFP, and RFQ?
The RFI, RFP, and RFQ are documents and forms of communication between a buying and a selling organization.
A request for information (RFI) is issued before an RFP and is designed to educate the business interested in purchasing something. Doing so allows you to cast a wide net and engage with many suppliers, weeding out unsuitable ones early on in the process.
A request for proposal (RFP) is a detailed analysis of the vendor’s business, offerings, capabilities, features, costs, and more. This is essentially a vendor evaluation. Top-scoring vendors are invited to submit bids, issue an RFQ, participate in negotiations or further communication.
A request for quote (RFQ) is usually issued after an RFP but can be also issued in its place, depending on the type of goods and services sold. This is where the buyer is considering purchasing and wants to request pricing.
What is an eCommerce RFP?
A request for proposal (RFP) is a document with criteria businesses use to evaluate and narrow down their eCommerce vendor. It includes a set of questions vendors have to answer, enabling you to compare responses with other vendors, helping you select a platform that will best serve your needs.
For a successful RFP, you must carefully craft your questions that address priorities on the company, departmental, and even individual levels. A sample RFP template is a great starting point to ensure you cover all the bases and stay on the right track during the discovery, drafting, evaluation, and final selection process.
What are the benefits of an eCommerce RFP?
Every piece of software is different. An RFP puts them on an equal playing field, pitting them against each other in an apples-to-apples comparison. Since vendors provide answers to the same questions, it enables a fair and unbiased software evaluation, allowing you to make an informed decision.
An RFP project is critical when selecting a new platform or replatforming. Without an RFP, it’s easy for every eCommerce vendor to market its strong features. You won’t be able to make sense of vendor capabilities or judge solutions against business requirements that matter most.
What should you do before creating an eCommerce RFP?
Before getting started on an RFP for eCommerce website, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your business like? Define your competitive landscape, your position in the market, and your traffic and sales numbers.
- What are your platform goals? Do you want to reduce the total cost of ownership, modernize your technology stack, or establish yourself as an innovator in your field?
- What products do you sell? What sales channels do you utilize? Do you sell globally or locally, and what are your growth plans?
- Do you have any special needs, from unique product configuration needs, pricing needs, ordering, or fulfillment requirements?
- What is your customer strategy like? Describe your marketing, promotions, site navigation, and UX needs.
- List your partnerships, system integrations, and other relationships you want to maintain.
What are the steps in an eCommerce RFP?
Having a good eCommerce RFP process in place is just as important as the RFP document itself. A typical RFP-driven sourcing process consists of the following four steps:
The preparation stage:
Research the eCommerce market, review competitors in the industry and evaluate your current solution. Talk to your employees and customers.
Identify all of your eCommerce stakeholders, list their goals, and determine why an eCommerce solution is necessary and why now.
Prioritize your capabilities and features. Design your evaluation criteria and how you will maintain engagement with stakeholders during this process.
The RFP stage in B2B:
This is where you compile the bulk of your eCommerce RFP. Work with stakeholders on specific and open-ended questions, including evaluation criteria. Set your categories, the number of questions, and the timeline for completing your RFP.
The evaluation stage:
Get stakeholders to evaluate respondents, and measure them against each other. A great way to evaluate vendors is to line up questions and answers side by side. This way, you focus away from a particular vendor and on the response.
Shortlisting the winners:
Shortlist those with the highest scores. Check vendor references and contact them for additional information. Explore potential implementation partners and start negotiations.
Who should be involved in the eCommerce RFP?
Internal stakeholders, external partners, and consultants play a critical role in forming business objectives, determining the required features, and evaluating vendors.
The RFP process is usually led by digital, marketing, and eCommerce directors. They receive input from business owners, chief financial officers, technical directors, and IT managers. Don’t forget to include business units, departments, and individuals stakeholders that will use the solution.
Subject matter experts, business digitization consultants & agencies, solution integration experts, and RFP consultants can also offer input during the RFP process.
What are the common eCommerce RFP challenges?
There are three main challenges to the RFP process:
It’s resource-intensive. Understand that the RFP process is not always quick and easy. Approach it carefully without rushing the process.
You can receive unsatisfactory or inconclusive responses from vendors. Make sure you invite the most suitable vendors, invite enough of them, and ask them the right questions.
Stakeholder engagement is another common challenge. Identify the most valuable stakeholders and engage with them early on. Communicate benefits, gather their feedback, and reinforce responsibilities throughout the process.