Request for Quote, RFI & RFP: The eCommerce Guide

by admin

Request for Quote is a great function that has been implemented into many famous eCommerce websites to make it convenient for the customers in purchasing products.

So, what is the Request for Quote? During the buying journey, could requesting a quote help your customers? Should you use it on your online store?

Let’s find out together!

What is Request for Quote?

In eCommerce, the Request to Quote is a message from the buyer when visiting the product page of the seller. 

Its purpose is to inquire of the pricing for the quantities of a particular product, which leads negotiation for a reasonable price that satisfies both the seller & buyer.

The Request for Quote (RFQ) is one of the three essential types of product request, along with Request for Information (RFI) and Request for Proposal (RFP).

The 3 Types of Request: RFI, RFP, RFQ

For eCommerce websites, there are three types of requests that any store owners/customers would receive/send away.

1. Request for Information (RFI)

First, let’s begin with RFI. So, what is RFI?

RFI stands for Request for Information. It is the method of leaving a message asked for information about the product/service. They are sent by customers who have expressed interest in either preliminary or detail of product information.

Usually, in a buying process, these quote requests are sent first. Whether it’s regular customers or business owners, to thoroughly study and authenticate product information is the primary purpose that they seek.

Besides, these requests were also answered the fastest because most of the information related to the product has already imprinted in sellers’ mind.

Unlike the request for quote and request for proposal, which takes a lot of time to make consideration, the seller just needs to type in the piece of information that you need, and press enters to send the reply.

Do not mistake receiving an RFI with the guarantee of new sales!

RFI is only equivalent to a lead, i.e. a potential customer. It’d cost more motivation for you to turn them into an actual buyer.

Typically, RFI is a request message that expresses a customer’s interest in a particular product/service. In most cases, customers send mass RFI to many different stores to consult prices and product information.

If you’re an eCommerce seller, RFI is a great opportunity to give your customers a glimpse of your business background.

This is also the opportunity to show them the uniqueness of your product/service, make it stand out from your competitors and leave a remarkable impression to the customers.

In the other hand, if you’re a buyer, RFI makes it easy for you to gather needed information to choose the most appropriate product and fast-forward into making a purchase decision.

It’s also the perfect chance to check out the seller’s level of expertise and validity to decide whether you can trust them or not.

2. Request for Quote

Use the purchase journey as the point of view, the customers must’ve known what they want and what they need, especially after consulting about RFI..

To find a price that suits both their needs & budget, the customers begin to send quote requests to the sellers.

A complete Request for Quote (RFQ) will include buyers’ requests for the product/service and the desired product price.

RFQ is essentially similar to an invitation to bid. The customer sets the desired price and sends the seller a list of their requirements.

Similar to RFI, the RFQ you receive may be among the countless RFQs your customers send out in stores. However, taking this step shows that the customer has started to consider buying from your website.

The purpose of the RFQ is for the two sides to reach the necessary consensus, reach the RFP and ultimately make the purchase decision.

If you’re a store owner, please carefully read the terms, requirements and expectations of your customers as well as make sure your product/service meets their needs.

At the same time, you have to ensure your customer’s desired price isn’t out-of-range from your already-set selling price for the particular product/service.

As a buyer, you should be certain that the outgoing RFQ contains all of your requirements: the functionality, colour, size, etc.

Also, do not forget to include information regarding the desired price as well as any terms if there’s any.

The more complete your request is, the more satisfaction you get from the seller’s reply.

If you have already used Magento 2 and are looking forwards to a Request for Quote solution, try using Magento 2 Request a Quote extension by BSSCommerce.

3. Request for Proposal

Usually, if the customer feels that their RFQ has met the requirements and the price set, their decision to make a purchase is imminent.

However, in specific cases, if the buyers are facing difficult problems and require a thorough product understanding as well as a break-through solution, they would like to receive advice from the seller.

Most often, this case occurs with B2B customers due to the extensive product quantity and strict product requirements of their orders.

The purpose of Request for Proposal (RFP) is to give the buyer a more in-depth insight into the problem they are facing, which leads to a better understanding of the solution (product/service). 

As a customer, when submitting a request for proposal, you need to be as specific about the problem you are facing as possible. 

Meanwhile, if you’re a store owner, please consult a team of highly qualified and experienced professionals. Together, try to build the most detailed and perfect solution for your customers.

Also, please keep in mind that at this step in the buying process, your customer is almost sure to buy your product/service, which means they require the most attention from you.

The Request for Quote Process for eCommerce

1. Preparation

According to the customer journey, the recommended starting point for any customers before sending quote requests is identifying the need/problem to be solved.

The detail to be prepared contain:

  • Company background.
  • Concerned products/services.
  • Solution requirement.
  • Timeline & deadline.
  • Contract conditions
  • Payment terms.

After writing down all the above information, customers can send an RFI containing these details to the store-owners to help them better understand the customer’s needs.

2. Supplier listing

If you’re a customer, then now is the perfect time to look for potential suppliers that can help to address your needs.

Be selected carefully and thoroughly, trying to filter out a diverse and reputable list of suppliers.

3. Sending Request for Quote

Before sending your quote request, please carefully check the information you have entered.

Please make sure your needs are described in enough details in the quote so the shop owner can identify suitable options for you.

In case the seller doesn’t understand, they can ask again for clarification from you.

To save time and workforce, try using automatic quote requests software to send quotes to a wide range of listed providers.

Also, don’t forget to document all the related information. This will help you maximize the effectiveness of quote sending.

In case needing to customize your quote after sending, if you’re using Magento 2 as your eCommerce platform, take a look at Magento 2 Request for Quote extension.

Not only being able to customize your quotes, but you also can review them all in My Account and get notifications for available updates.

4. Response analysation

After reaching the quote sending deadline, you can open all your received quotes and begin analysing them.

Try to filter out the bidding participants that are in the suitable price range of your expectations, then evaluate each indicator and see which ones are worthy of selection.

READ MORE about price negotiation in B2B and how to effectively use it HERE!

For suppliers that are not suitable for you, please send a thank you email to keep healthy relationships for other chances of cooperation.

5. Decision making

Before accepting the suggested price from the supplier, try negotiating about the cost to look for a cheaper and much suitable price that would be a bargain for you.


Depending on your customer journey, looking for the right request types that are relevant to you could be a huge problem. Yet we have simplified and solved this troublesome problem for you.

Now that you have understood the Request for Quote, don’t hesitate to use it to make the best use of it. 

If you have any concerns about building your B2B e-commerce business, don’t hesitate to share with us! 

BSS Commerce is one of the leading Magento extension providers and web development services in the world. With experienced and certified Magento developers, we commit to bring high-quality products and services to optimize your business effectively.

CONTACT NOW to let us know your problems. We are willing to support you every time.

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