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Author: James Gurd

Pages: 95

Features: Best practice information, advice and techniques to help e-commerce managers keep their projects under control and select the most suitable suppliers.

About this guide

Econsultancy’s How to Run a Successful E-commerce ITT best practice guide is absolutely essential reading for organizations considering a new e-commerce platform or upgrading their existing systems. 

The comprehensive report is aimed at helping in-company e-commerce managers to understand the skills and techniques required to manage the Invitation to Tender process in a professional and expedient manner.

An ITT process relates to the internal planning required to accurately scope project requirements and the subsequent process of finding suitable suppliers and systematically evaluating their eligibility to make an informed decision regarding who is best suited to be your e-commerce partner.

Written by e-commerce consultant James Gurd, this guide will help equip your business with the knowledge which can help deliver the following commercial benefits:

  • Ensure clarity of purpose within your organization.
  • Obtain buy-in from key stakeholders to ensure commitment.
  • Provide a clear vision of scope and objectives to prospective suppliers.
  • Ensure that supplier capabilities are evaluated consistently and proposed solutions are comparable.
  • Future-proof your e-commerce channel to support long-term growth plans.
  • Match your business culture to the best suited business partner.

It is an end-to-end process that begins once your company has committed to e-commerce investment and ends when you have selected a supplier and signed on the dotted line.

Every company has unique requirements for e-commerce but the challenges faced are broadly similar. The techniques in this document are intended to give e-commerce managers from any industry the tools to help keep their project under control and fully supported by stakeholders. 

This document provides a framework with which to manage your e-commerce tender process. The report covers the key elements of project management from the perspective of an e-commerce manager and follows a tried and tested methodology.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
    1. About this report
    2. About Econsultancy
    3. About the author
  2. Using this document
    1. Terminology – differentiating between document formats
      1. RFI (Request for Information)
      2. RFQ (Request for Quote)
      3. RFP (Request for Proposal)
      4. ITT (Invitation to Tender)
    2. Standard phases of the ITT process
      1. Exploration/Discovery
      2. Produce documentation
      3. Issue of documentation
      4. Response appraisal
      5. Supplier selection
      6. Contract negotiation
  3. Getting your project off the ground
    1. Board level sponsorship
    2. Project scoping
    3. Creating a project team
      1. Who to involve
      2. Roles and responsibilities
      3. Using external consultants
    4. Steering group
    5. Appointing a project manager
    6. Defining resource requirements
    7. Defining objectives
    8. Project lifecycle and milestones
    9. Disciplines of project management
      1. Time management
      2. Prioritisation
      3. Project updates
      4. Clear communication and transparency
      5. Conflict management
      6. Risk mitigation
      7. Version control
      8. Project phasing and de-scoping
  4. Deciding the level of detail in documentation
    1. Role of the RFI and RFP – refining information
    2. Detail models
      1. Top-level requirements
      2. Precise process and technical detail
    3. Value of using a business analyst (BA)
    4. Using wireframes
  5. Accurately defining business requirements – the scope
    1. Providing relevant information about your business
      1. Company background
      2. Scale of operations
      3. Your brand
      4. Your customers
      5. Your growth plans
      6. Your competitors
      7. Your challenges and aspirations
      8. Partner requirements
      9. Legal requirements
    2. IT systems architecture
    3. Hosting and support
    4. Technical performance
    5. Data management
    6. Logistics and warehousing
    7. Customer services and call centre
    8. Usability and accessibility
    9. Core functionality
    10. Catalogue management and merchandising
    11. Content management
    12. CRM
    13. Promotions
    14. Order management and payment processing
    15. Digital marketing
      1. Email
      2. Search marketing
      3. Affiliate marketing
      4. Social media and community features
    16. Web analytics and voice-of-customer
    17. Financial and business reporting
    18. Project management expertise
    19. Account management expertise
    20. International operations
  6. Writing ITT documentation
    1. Style and tone
    2. Structure and consistency
    3. Version control
  7. Internal scope review
    1. Circulating your documentation
    2. Review meeting
    3. Managing amends
    4. Reaching an agreement
  8. Go to market phase 1: identifying suppliers
    1. What makes a good e-commerce supplier?
    2. Which e-commerce models to consider
      1. Hosted solution
      2. Software as a Service (SaaS)
      3. Custom build
      4. Hybrid
      5. Open source
    3. Who do you talk to?
    4. Getting impartial feedback
  9. Supplier short listing
    1. Evaluating supplier capabilities
    2. Using templates to collect information
    3. Internal agreement
  10. Go to market phase 2: submitting your ITT
    1. Make the information accessible
    2. Define response requirements
    3. Level playing field
  11. Reviewing and evaluating ITT responses
    1. Profiling shortlisted candidates
    2. Resource demands
    3. Supplier presentations
      1. Understanding the art of selling
    4. Refining information
    5. Selection criteria and scoring
    6. Review with project team
  12. Due diligence: making the final decision
    1. Revisit selection criteria
    2. Financial risk assessment
    3. SWOT assessment
  13. Contract negotiation
    1. Importance of a qualified contract expert
    2. Penalty clauses
    3. Termination clauses
    4. Intellectual property rights (IPR)
    5. Service level agreements (SLAs)
    6. International implications
  14. Common problems and exception control
    1. Frequently encountered problems
      1. Conflict within the project team
      2. Clash of priorities
      3. Milestone not met
      4. Decisions not being made
      5. Suppliers not following briefs
      6. No clear winner
    2. Managing the project team
    3. Final words of advice

Download a copy of the report to learn more.

A free sample is available for those who want more detail about what is in the report.

Related resources

Need a shortlist? Check out our E-commerce Platforms Buyer's Guide for vendor profiles, trends and more.


  • Pdf SAMPLE: How to Run a Successful E-commerce ITT (400 KB PDF)
  • Pdf Disabled How to Run a Successful E-commerce ITT (1.85 MB PDF)

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