Replatforming can be daunting. Especially when you operate in the $5 to $20 million revenue range. But if you’re ready to take action, we’ve prepared an Ecommerce RFP Template to help guide you.
This isn’t a whitepaper about Shopify Plus. Nor is it a “comparison” on how we stack up against the competition.
Instead, you’ll get 10 must-answer questions for you and your team as well as a 157 point checklist you can tailor to your company’s needs.
If you’re reading this, your business has reached a tipping point driven by one of two causes:
Despite how different they sound, both manifest themselves with almost identical symptoms:
- Mounting technical debt
- Unreliable online performance
- Lack of platform innovation
- Rising costs for maintenance and hosting
Instead of focusing on your product, core competencies, delighting customers, and increasing revenue through multi-channel and international strategies … you’re forced to play catch up or stay afloat with existing traffic, sales, logistics, inventory, and analytics.
How Will an Ecommerce RFP Template Help?
A request for proposal (RFP) is a formal document announcing the bidding process and initial terms. RFPs can be shared publicly or with a select group of vendors.
The goals of issuing an ecommerce RFP are twofold.
First, to solidify your intentions and requirements internally. And second, to formalize those objectives in a way that lets you examine and evaluate prospective solutions on your terms … instead of theirs.
To guide you through that process, we’ve broken down the template into two sections:
1. Replatforming Preparation: 10 Questions
Before the RFP Template itself, there are 10 questions to set the stage for a smooth replatforming.
What’s crucial during preparation is to bring together internal stakeholders — as well as outside partners you want to continue working with — and align your primary business objectives, required platform features, and the limitations replatforming must solve.
1. Why are you migrating and how soon do you want to relaunch?
Next to compiling an exhaustive list of must-keep features, tools, and partners, this will likely be your most detailed and crucial question.
Make a catalog of your current pain points, frustrations, and limitations. Include both quantitative and qualitative reasons: lost sales, increased costs, downtimes, poor customer experience, low conversion rates or retention, etc.
Also, sketch out a tentative timeline for relaunch. Like the saying goes, “A deliverable without a due date never gets done.” (Note: this is especially important when leading change in a large organization.)
2. What are your replatforming goals?
All business growth can be tied to three causes: reducing costs, increasing revenue, and improving efficiency. Rank in order of importance and briefly describe the role each objective will play in replatforming:
- Reduce total cost of ownership
- Increase revenue by modernizing tech stack
- Improve efficiency by unburdening IT
- Become or solidify position as a market leader
As you compose your objectives, carefully consider why customers buy from you. If your business goals, customer preferences, and reasons for replatforming aren’t aligned — i.e., investing more in what you’re best at — that can be a recipe for heartache and wasted effort.
3. At peak moments, what volume of traffic, checkouts, and sales do you experience? In other words, how does your platform maintain scalability?
4. How do you currently implement content, design, product, and UX changes?
Briefly describe your operating process — e.g., in-house team of designers and developers, marketing team, ecommerce manager, third-party agency, etc. — along with the team sizes and speed of implementation.
5. What sales channels do you utilize?
Beyond your storefront(s), list out your various sales channels and whether you run them through your current platform or through a third-party:
- Mail-order catalogs
- POS (brick-and-mortar retail)
- Customer service reps (telephone or email)
- Social networks
- Comparison shopping platforms
- Online communities
Additionally, what is your current — or future — approach to wholesale and B2B ecommerce?
6. What is your current approach to international ecommerce?
List out the countries, currencies, and languages you already sell in, as well as how you target and customize your messaging based on geography. If you don’t yet have an international ecommerce strategy, note that here and consider adding it as a specific business objective above.
7. Do you have any special customizations or product configurations?
We’ll cover third-party integrations in the next portion. Here, focus on features that are unique to your business or current platform: e.g., product builders, pricing structures, recurring shipments, partial returns, data importing and exporting, complex variants, custom onsite search, product rules, upsells, bundles, cross-sells, etc.
8. What are your current operating costs?
Be as exhaustive as possible on this front to calculate your total cost of ownership (TCO):
- Initial costs: design, development, servers, hosting, security, licensing, CDN, etc.
- Ongoing costs: design and development (in-house and/or agency), server, maintenance fees, hosting, security, licensing, CDN, applications, etc.
9. Who are your major competitors and other brands that you admire?
Compose a short list of both groups, along with one or two specific features from each that you respect most about their online or offline presence.
10. What third-party tools, in-house software, and outside partners would you consider “must-keep”? Which are you looking to either replace or begin implementing?
- Payment gateways
- Retail point-of-sale (POS)
- Proprietary software
- Marketing tools (onsite or offsite)
- Onsite search solution
- Merchandising software
- Customer service and/or CRM
- Shipping and fulfillment (3PL)
- Inventory management (IMS)
- Order management (OMS)
- Warehousing (WMS)
- Multi-channel or omni-channel integrations
- Supply chain management
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
- Additional solutions (analytics, ratings and reviews, recommendations, etc.)
2. Ecommerce RFP Template: 157 Point Checklist
After you’ve aligned your goals, what follows is a detailed, 157 point checklist to create an ecommerce RFP.
Rest assured, you won’t need to address every point. The template provides an easy-to-use outline you can pick and choose from.
First, by entering your company profile and replatforming needs into the “Executive Summary.” Second, by customizing exactly what you need to know in “Solutions: About Them.”
Ready to replatform?
It’s true: Replatforming can be daunting. But it can also be the path to exponential growth.
The secret is making what you need the centerpiece, rather than what potential platforms may want to highlight.
To do that, start with (1) your internal goals and (2) the requirements to get there. That focus is at the heart of the RFP template we’ve created: to make it about you, not us, nor anyone else.