You’ve reached the tipping point.
It’s time to empower your brand to focus on marketing and selling your goods, not on being technologists just trying to keep your site alive.
It’s time to find the right ecommerce platform fit for your unique business, which means it’s time to issue an RFP.
What is an RFP?
An RFP (Request for Proposal) standardizes your evaluation criteria across the 3-5 select vendors you choose to send it to.
It effectively puts every platform out there on an equal playing field. You are, after all, asking each vendor the same questions. You can then benchmark answers directly against one another –– without any sales chatter to trip you up.
Implied in this is something rather simple:
If you don’t send an RFP, each vendor will likely sell you on what they have –– removing your ability to judge each platform effectively across the business critical requirements of your brand.
RFPs help you minimize the number of platforms you bring into phase 2 of your re-platforming project: platform demo presentations.
Simply by a vendor responding to an RFP, you are clearly shortlisting which solution will work best for your unique requirements, which vendor took the process seriously and which have already committed to winning your business.
But RFPs aren’t easy. They aren’t designed to be.
The questions you want to ask each vendor span internal departments and needs –– and even within those have various prioritizations.
To help you begin this process as easy as possible, my team is giving away the templatized RFP we offer to large merchants we speak with who are just beginning on this journey.
How to Use an RFP
When handing this document off to brands, I typically accompany it with a few best practices to help them navigate the waters. Here’s what I share with them.
The effort a vendor puts into the RFP is also a signal of their commitment to your requirements.
In the RFP itself, there is a column of priority. That’s the first column after the question.
For that part, be sure to get internal sign off on which aspects are business critical and which others might not be as important.
This will help you to determine the right platform for your needs and guide the platforms you send the RFP to on which items are the most important to properly explain.
Be sure the priorities are set right for each question before you send it off.
Use this as a starting point. Please personalize it to your business requirements.
This is an RFP template that helps you to get started. It is definitely best accompanied by a cover letter with further details on pricing needs and services requirements.
Traditionally, this part is done in a Word document, not Excel, and includes business scope, pricing expectations, and service requirements.
Here are the 192 questions you’ll want clarity on before you begin to narrow down your ecommerce platform choices when approaching a migration.
Company Overview Questions
Site Design, Development and UX Questions
IT + Hosting Questions For Ecommerce Providers
Important Ecommerce Security + PCI Compliance Questions
APIs and Headless Commerce
Administration + Ease of Use Questions
Customer Service Questions
Ecommerce Analytics Questions
Checkout + Payment Option Questions
Marketing + Promotions Questions
Email Marketing Questions
SEO + SEM Questions
Social Media Questions
Products + Categories Questions
Ecommerce Questions About Omnichannel
Ecommerce Questions About Customer Support
B2B Capabilities Questions
If you’ve made it this far down the page, you are clearly ready to take a look at a new platform.
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