What is an RFP - Request for Proposal?



RFP (Request for Proposal) is an English term, often used in the procurement of e-commerce solutions. RFP, simply described, is similar to a tender document for obtaining quotes from e-commerce providers. Good preparatory work and careful procurement reduce the risk of unnecessary costs and additional platform changes, in the future.

It is good to look a few years ahead, when preparing your e-commerce requirements, and reflect on what comes next. If your company has a purchasing department, feel free to use it; to coordinate the RFP process. If the department also has the ability to clarify your business requirements, as well: they can be quite helpful. But it is always the company, itself, that is responsible for formulating its needs.

Larger procurements often take place according to a so-called “RFX” process; in three (3) steps:

• In the “RFI” (Request for Information) phase, an RFI is sent out to a number of prospective e-commerce providers; to gather information, analyze potential provider interests, and to qualify interested providers.

• In the “RFP” (Request for Proposal) phase, solution proposals and quotes are obtained from a selection of these providers.

• In the “RFQ” phase (Request for Quotation), the e-commerce providers who have received the highest scores are given the opportunity to present their solution, along with a number of reference cases, and a proposed implementation partner; for the current e-commerce project.

A common mistake is to send the RFP to too many potential e-commerce providers. This can lead to a laborious decision-making process, when many different types of solutions are to be compared with each other. Get help from a procurement consultant, in selecting three to four prospective solution providers to send the RFP to; if you are unsure, and if the project is large and complex.

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