Top 5 RFP Solutions for Retail

Retail companies often have the most suppliers, and the most interaction with them, of any industry. That’s why if you’re in the retail industry, it pays to have the right RFP solutions in place.

When a retail company is about to make a big-ticket purchase, they often utilize a request for proposal (RFP), which is sent out to suppliers. RFP solutions for retail allow buyers to compare price, features, and functionality from suppliers side-by-side and gives them time to research potential suppliers thoroughly. The RFP process can become muddy, however, if companies are still using “analog” methods for RFP management, such as spreadsheets and Word documents. The right RFP software is one of the top RFP solutions for retail, but there are other tips to help you better navigate your RFP management system, to save time and boost ROI.

What Are the Challenges of RFP in Retail?

There are a few challenges when it comes to RFP in retail. One of them is not receiving enough response when RFPs are sent out. To get the best possible outcome, you have to ensure you invite enough vendors, ask the right questions, and invite the right suppliers for the job. Sometimes, you can also have too many responses, so you have to re-weigh your comparisons. Over time, you’ll become more skilled at drawing up RFP templates, however, intuitive RFP automation tools can do that for you when you have the best RFP software.

Another issue for those who buy in retail is making a poor comparison. As responses come in, you want to be able to evaluate suppliers side-by-side, not on a system that relies solely upon when the responses come in. Many companies still use spreadsheets, which are tedious and will slow you down. RFP solutions for retail include RFP tools and software that can help you have a clear and effective supplier comparison.

Finding reputable suppliers who believe in sustainability can also be a problem. Before even sending out an RFP, you should perform thorough research on the vendor and make sure they adhere to sustainable and eco-friendly practices, such as harvesting only in fair-trade areas, which is a growing priority in the apparel industry. A partner who understands your brand and sustainability goals can also help move your business forward.

If your retail organization has been struggling with some of the above mentioned challenges in creating a solid RFP solution, then it’s time to consider requesting a formal proposal from an RFP software solution provider who has a platform to help you solve these retail-specific challenges.

The Best RFP Solutions for Retail

When it comes to the top RFP solutions, RFP automation and software ranks at the top of the list. However, other best practices can streamline RFP solutions for retail. Here are our Top 5 RFP tips for retail companies:

  1. RFP management software can help in many areas. It scraps the old way of doing things (back-and-forth emails, spreadsheets), so it immediately drives greater efficiency. It also aids you in analytics, decision-making, and has ready-to-go templates every time you need an RFP. There are different types of RFP solutions for retail, including FlexRFP.
  2. Don’t use outside consultants. If you’re unfamiliar with the RFP process, you may hire an external consultant. But they may already have relationships with certain suppliers, and may not always keep your best interests in mind. Image of a white ceramic teacup on a blue table with a dark grey background for an article about the top five RFP solutions for retail services.
  3. Research more than just references. You may only research a potential supplier’s references, but it’s best to dig a little deeper to ensure they maintain and believe in your same values (such as when it comes to sustainability and fair labor practices).
  4. Don’t share RFP answers. This can alienate suppliers, which could keep you from finding the best outcome for you when eSourcing.
  5. Do a further comparison. Perform a separate search for the product and the vendor to ensure that both align with your vision and are the right fit for your project.

To learn more about intuitive, easy-to-use RFP solutions for retail, such as FlexRFP, speak to a Simfoni representative today about conducting a demo.