The key ingredient in making an eCommerce RFP is prioritizing the questions and answer the most important ones first. Tackling a new eCommerce project in this way will allow you to determine what solution is critical to the company, get buy-in from the internal teams, and have a clear statement of solution needs.
#1 – Why a new website, and why now?
The first thing you should determine is how necessary a new eCommerce experience is to your company and how do you quantify the problem. What’s at stake? At a high level, who is impacted by the change, or failure to change? Why do you need to rebuild the eCommerce platform and online solution? Then ask, Why now? It’s vital to ensure the executive and management teams agree on the answers to these questions.
#2 – Identify all the eCommerce stakeholders
Determine who in the company will be affected by this change. You need to meet with them to understand how they interact with your current eCommerce platform and the online store and find out what they exactly want in a new solution.
#3 – Determine goals and objectives
It is crucial at this point to determine 1 – 5 goals and 5 – 15 objectives for this project. The goals should specifically address the needs of the company, and the objectives should achieve those goals. Agreement with the executive team and stakeholders is critical as these goals and objectives will keep everyone heading in the same direction.
#4 – Evaluate the current solution
Ask important questions about the current solution: What features are critical? What works well that you want to keep? What doesn’t work well? It is helpful to try to monetize each feature on your website and rank by its importance of value.
#5 - Review the competitors and industry
This is an excellent time to look at what your competitors are doing and make a list of the things you want. Also, look at other online stores outside of your product area and identify what you like. Determine if this would be helpful for your customers and include it in your list of desired features.
#6 – List all the needed integration of your current website
It’s time to talk to your colleagues in IT and compile a list of the systems that must connect to the eCommerce platform, here are some examples:
- Order management system
- Inventory system
- Tax system
- Shipping service
Now is an excellent time to produce a list of cybersecurity requirements as well.
#7 – Determine your user’s needs
Users are people inside the company who interact with the site. These are often teams that are creating products, planning teams that are setting prices, creative teams creating content and images and marketing teams planning promotions. Determine who these users are, what they do, what they like, and what they want to change.
#8 – Identify your customer’s needs
Who are your end-customers? Identify 2 – 4 profiles of types of customers that buy from you. Then talk with these customers for feedback on what they like and don’t like about the site.
#9 – Document your key eCommerce features
Now that you have compiled all of this information, you can start to create a list of the key tools and features for the new website.
#10 – Prioritize the eCommerce features
Understand you will likely not get everything that you want for your eCommerce solution and online store. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize the features into three equal groups of importance: critical, significant, and important. Critical features are non-negotiable and must be included in the new site. Significant features are those that fall into the next category of providing business value, but not being critical to the site. Lastly, important features may affect one or two departments or a few end-users and have business value for them, but not as much on a global level.
#11 – Write the RFP
If you have followed the previous steps, this should be easy; you can create a structured document that includes all the things you have uncovered, starting with your goals and objectives, including the details of all the roles and customers, providing details on integration, and finishing with your prioritized features.
#12 – Identify potential implementation partners
Now you can research possible platforms/solution and implementation partners. Once evaluated, you can send the RFP and prepare to move to the next phase of the project.
#13 – Pick an implementation partner
After receiving the responses from the partners, compare their responses with your preferred answers, and then choose the partner that best meets your needs.
As you can see, there is a lot of work required before you even start implementing an eCommerce solution and online store. We hope this 13-step plan helps you transform your business and please contact us to learn more about Drink-IT.
Curious who receives your RFP and how they handle your project? Read the interview with our Project Manager Dirk Bruynseraede.