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Starting an eCommerce Business: How to Prepare Request for Quote

"Request for Quote" for an eCommerce website development is that document which has to be submited to a potential development firm eliciting quotations for eCommerce website creation. Typically, an RFQ seeks an itemized list of prices for something that is well-defined and quantifiable. Creating comprehensive RFQ is one of the critical steps in a successful eCommerce project.

TransPacific Software receives numerous "Requests for quote" (RFQ) . RFQs range from eCommerce website development in Magento to Customized WebGL implementations ..The problem is; almost 50% of these requests are just 1 line enquiries. For example: “I need a jewelry website like, how much will it cost?”

Its as vague as asking a real estate agent, “I need a property just like my cousin's with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and space for 2 cars.” (No Further Details)

So How to create RFQ document so you can get an accurate Quote from development agency?

To answer this question, review following list of prerequisites that need to be in place before you create your initial project brief:

1. Survey: Research your competitor's Websites and Collect a Feature List

When you wish to be an eCommerce merchant, buckle-up . Visit your competitor's websites and carefully note down all the features. If required don’t hesitate to note down the URLs with screenshots. This is the initial phase of research for you and will bring more clarity to your ideas and its USP (Unique Selling Proposition).

2. Product Images: Provide sample product images to your development agency

The most critical yet cumbersome is the process of creating product images. Its an investment which will reap favorable returns in the long run.


  • Do you have all the product images in high resolution?
  • Do they have white background or will they require further editing in Photoshop?

3. Product Data: Need to supply at least 5-6 complete records with all product attributes in a spreadsheet format with RFQ

As the eCommerce industry gets more and more sophisticated, Data holds the key to a robust and powerful back-end of your eCommerce website. Before start of development, review your product data to figure out if it is organised in a structured way in a spreadsheet or a database? Or is it possible to export data from your POS software? If not, how do you intend to do it?

4. Website Design: Pixel perfect design will get you visitor conversions.

The design of your eCommerce website is going to provide an identity to it, you need to be highly specific in terms of how you want your website to look and feel. In which particular way do you want to design your website? Do you have a preference for some specific colors or a theme of colors? Is your logo available in high resolution? Is there a particular website which you wish to emulate? State this in your RFQ document

5. Menu Structure: Define Categories and subcategories.

This is the simplest of all the prerequisites yet highly critical. Try to define the categories and subcategories of your Menu Structure with utmost clarity, for example Home, About Us, Products, Solutions, etc. A well defined menu enables you in creating a proper structure for your eCommerce website, which in turn plays a significant role during the development process.

6. Budget and Funding: Do you have funding.

E-Commerce website is a mainstay project and should not be taken up as a side project. It requires serious investment along with a lot of hard work. If your budget is less than USD 7000-8000, we would suggest you to give a second thought to your plans for developing an eCommerce website. Why? Inferior quality websites don’t sell (Period). Higher the budget better will be the quality of your eCommerce website.

With these 6 prerequisites for preparing initial project brief of your eCommerce Website in place, you are well equipped to request your development agency for a quote.

Here is a template for your initial website brief which you can send to your development agency:


Provide a summary about your project. Also specify your deadline for completion of the project.


A list of features you require in your eCommerce website with examples and references.

Images and Data:

Along with your project requirement document also send sample data set of minimum 3-4 records (You may omit any proprietary info eg. purchase cost). Also send along a few reference images, if required, you may watermark these images eliminating any possibility of their reuse.

Use Cases:

Try and define few use cases. Stakeholders and players in the website and what will they do .Google “use cases” and you will find a ton of information on how to define use case

Use case help your development agency to fine tune the user activity flow.

Special Features:

If your eCommerce website has a few out of the box features or special requirements, for instance the website should detect the user’s country and change the currency automatically, please state these requirements clearly.

Menu Structure, Design and Template:

If you have already done a mock up, send it without any hesitation. Even a hand drawn sketch of home page showing your perspective and how you have been visualizing your eCommerce website will be of great use. Also, provide details about the menu structure of your website.

It goes without saying that all the above specs are tentative during initial stages of the project. Yet it serves the dual purpose of

Allowing your development agency to quote as accurately and Taking you through the discovery phase of the project.

If you have further questions or need more info contact: [email protected]

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