alibaba rfq

With the Ecommerce booming day by day, it is a big challenge to find the product you need in an efficient way, saving you time and money.

Firstly, you need to search pages after pages, suppliers after suppliers to be able to find the right product.

This takes a lot of time and effort and still does not guarantee that you will find the product that you need. This is where Alibaba RFQ (Request for Quotation) option helps you.

Alibaba is a platform that has provided its buyers and sellers to sell, buy, communicate, negotiate and make a deal from anywhere in the world.

When you reach out the exact product you demand at the Alibaba platform you then see a lot of suppliers selling the same product.

Here the hurdle lies because you are not sure about the quality and price of the products. Alibaba has eased out its customers in this regard.

B2B buyers send a request of quotation (RFQ) at this time to reach out to the best supplier that suits their demands in respect of the quality and cost of the purchase.

In this blog we will further get to know what RFQ is, what does it mean in Alibaba, how it is processed, what are advantages, and much more. Hence, an overall guide is provided for the Alibaba RFQ in further sections.

Table of Content

Chapter 1: Overview About What is RFQ?

Chapter 2: Introduction to Alibaba RFQ

Chapter 3: Different types of Alibaba RFQ

Chapter 4: How to set a successful RFQ at Alibaba?

Chapter 5: Top key advantages of Alibaba RFQ

Chapter 6: Step by step process to send an RFQ on Alibaba.com?

Chapter 7: Frequently Asked Questions about Alibaba.com RFQ

Chapter 1: Overview About What is RFQ?

1. Defining the term, ‘Request for Quote’

Request for Quote

A request for quote (RFQ) is also known by other names like “invitation for bid” (IFB) or “invitation to tender”.

RFQ is a document that consists of details of the buyer’s demands and asks the suppliers/vendors to quote their pricing options and who can supply the product with same specifications.

This process helps to standardize the supplier’s pricing as well as find the relevant supplier who has that product.

RFQ is crucial for companies that need a constant supply of specific products or services with certain standardized requirements. RFQ is often used by businesses for products of low value required in high volume.

2. How an RFQ/IFB works?

In the RFQ process, first, you decide the mode of bidding, whether it will be open bidding or you want to bid selected vendors.

Next, you prepare the RFQ document which consists of detailed information of pricing, quantity or duration, deadline date, and a list of features required in the product.

How an RFQ works

After RFQ has been sent to the vendors, now you wait to receive the RFQ’s back for review.

The company often awards the contract to the supplier that quotes the lowest possible bid. Once the vendor has been chosen and the deal is closed, other vendors are alerted that they weren’t chosen.

3. Why there is a need of an RFQ?

RFQ is the most suitable option for businesses when it comes to indirect purchasing because the primary focus in an RFQ is the cost factor and time.

You can use RFQ while purchasing items like office supplies, computer hardware, etc.

Similarly, RFQ is the go-to option for businesses when they are looking for specific and quantifiable products. RFQ process asks the suppliers to list the detail of price and product specifications regarding every phase of the project or product.

The details of RFQ help the businesses make an accurate comparison between different vendors.

4. Typical process of stating an RFQ

First, the business decides what kind of product they want. After setting up the main requirements it’s time to prepare an RFQ document that should include the following items:

  • A detailed description of parts of the product
  • Quantity of product
  • Quantity requirements
  • Payment terms and method
  • Selection criteria
  • Terms and conditions of contract
  • Submission deadline

After the preparation of the RFQ document with all the above-mentioned requirements, it is sent to various vendors. Company then awaits the response from vendors to select the vendor that quotes the best price and meets the minimum qualifying criteria.

Typical process of stating an RFQ

Risk assessment is also an important factor that should be kept in mind while submitting an RFQ because monetary risks such as changes in quality, or delivery time are possible.

5. What is the difference between RFQ, RFP and RFI

RFQ stands for request for a quote while RFP stands for request for proposal. The main difference between the two is their purpose.

  • An RFQ is sent by companies when they want to buy quantifiable products and want to know the exact price quotation. E.g. RFQ is sent for purchasing hardware.
  • On the other hand, RFP is sent when the companies want to buy more complex goods and services, hence detailed information is required about the product.
  • RFI stands for request for information. It is used when the company intends to get general information from the selected group of potential vendors. RFI documents are more casual than RFQ and RFP documents. They are fact-finding documents that allow the companies to ask questions from vendors.

Chapter 2: Introduction to Alibaba RFQ

Introduction to Alibaba RFQ

1. What is an Alibaba RFQ service?

Alibaba is considered the world’s largest supplier directory. It provides you a free Alibaba RFQ service in which businesses can quickly get direct price quotations from the vendors through the platform of Alibaba.

Availing Alibaba RFQ service means you are entrusting Alibaba.com to find suitable and reliable vendors for your required product after you fill in the purchasing information.

The vendors check your quoted requirements and quote their prices within a day or two.

What is an Alibaba RFQ service

Alibaba RFQ is the largest open market where businesses announce their buying requirements while the vendors can independently respond to the suitable quotations. This service of Alibaba.com can be availed free of cost at the moment.

2. What are the benefits of Alibaba RFQ service?

Alibaba RFQ service helps you avoid the stage where businesses spend days contacting the vendors and still get no response. With the help of Alibaba RFQ, your request will be open to multiple potential vendors.

This system enables you to receive responses in a matter of days without any hustle.

This saves your time as well as your resources. You don’t need to worry about the authenticity of the suppliers as Alibaba.com will connect you with already selected good suppliers.

What are the benefits of Alibaba RFQ service

When you submit your RFQ, it is reviewed by the industry experts who screen your bid before publishing it. Thus making RFQ an essential tool to help you in your procurement process.

3. How Alibaba RFQ is different from a typical RFQ?

In a typical RFQ, you spend hours and days shortlisting the vendors and then contacting them one by one. However, with Alibaba RFQ you can connect with a variety of vendors from all over the globe and even request competitive prices.

How Alibaba RFQ is different from a typical RFQ

  Alibaba RFQ helps you choose by choosing the vendor that best meets your quotation so that you can maintain your budget.

When you use Alibaba RFQ, your bid is reviewed by experts who identify mistakes in the bid if any. Besides it connects with the variety of vendors who have products with unique features or the vendors who are ready to develop new products.

4. Why there is a need for Alibaba RFQ?

Whenever you are in search of suppliers, the two things that you need from them are authenticity and the best price. That’s where you need Alibaba RFQ.

When you do a supplier search on this B2B marketplace, you will get an authentic list of suppliers because Alibaba.com filters out the good suppliers for you in advance.

Now you just have to find yourself a supplier that best matches your requirements as the rest is already sorted out.

Chapter 3: Different types of Alibaba RFQ

Request for quotation can be presented in different ways depending on how you want the procedure to happen. Each type comes with its upsides and downsides.

1. Open Bid Alibaba RFQ

In the Open bid RFQ, various vendors submit their quotes and can see each other’s quoted prices. In the open bid, vendors can alter their quoted price until the deadline.

How an RFQ works

Open bid introduces competition among vendors hence prices can go down which is good for you, but on the other hand, vendors might fix a uniform price and cause you a disadvantage.

2. Reverse Auction Alibaba RFQ

In the Reverse auction RFQ, the buyer invites vendors to quote their lowest possible price like in an auction. This helps the buyer to get the most competitive price as the lowest price vendor automatically wins the auction.

This RFQ is usually preferred in situations when previously quoted didn’t get the response the buyer wanted. A downside of reverse auction RFQ is that the vendor is selected based on price while other factors get ignored.

3. Sealed Bid RFQ

In the sealed bid RFQ, all the qualified vendor submits their quotes however, their process is not visible to others. This system offers transparency and reduced risk of fraud hence preferred in the government and public procurement projects.

Sealed Bid RFQ

However, this type of RFQ does not motivate the vendors to quote their best prices, unlike an open bid. Hence the process loses the spirit of competition among vendors.

4. Invited Bid RFQ

In an invited bid RFQ, the buyer selects specific vendors to submit their quotes. In this RFQ, both open and sealed bids are used. This RFQ speed the procurement process as buyer works with already known and trusted vendors.

The downside to this RFQ is that buyer is limited to some specific vendors and might be losing out on some great options that might have come with new vendors.

Chapter 4: How to set a successful RFQ at Alibaba?

To submit a successful RFQ at Alibaba, make sure that you follow below mentioned protocol. Go to the Alibaba.com RFQ page and press the button “Get Quotations Now”.

How to set a successful RFQ at Alibaba

1. Choose the right keyword for the RFQ

It’s time to start filling the RFQ form. The first thing you need to jot down is the product keyword. Make sure to keep the keyword simple so that it’s easier for the vendors to locate your RFQ.

Don’t add too many elements in the keyword rather keep it short and to the point. Let’s say you want to find room chairs; you will add this keyword in the form. Avoid adding irrelevant or lesser-known keywords to the form.

Next, you have to select the category of your product. For room, chairs select the category of indoor furniture. Selecting a specific category is important as it helps you reach out to the suppliers who have worked in that category before.

Next, you have to mention the sourcing type. For this select option of customized product from the drop-down menu. After selecting this option, you can mention the specific requirements you want.

Let’s say you want room chairs 18 inches in height or you want any specific material to be used. Next, you have to mention the sourcing purpose which is wholesale.

2. Put a quantity that can meet the supplier’s MOQ

MOQ is the “minimum order quantity”. MOQ is the amount of product the supplier sells to the buyer at once. While submitting RFQ, you have to quantify the product you want and this number usually decides how many vendors respond to your RFQ.

Put a quantity that can meet the supplier

It is recommended to mention the quantity that meets the supplier’s MOQ. You can search the supplier’s homepage to get a general idea regarding their MOQ.

Commonly the product quantity in the range of 500-1000 is a good number to get a response from vendors.

3. Add a realistic preferred unit price

If you have some prior market experience, make sure to add a realistic preferred unit price. If your quotation, matches the supplier’s preferred price, it will give you an upper hand as you will be seen as a professional buyer in the eyes of the supplier.

If the price is too high the supplier won’t respond and if the price is very low, the supplier will think that you don’t have any prior knowledge or market experience. The point here is to seem and sound very professional.

In case you don’t have any idea about putting the preferred unit price, leave this section empty for the first time since it is not essential to fill.

You can fill this section a second time after you have a better idea of pricing from the price quotations you got on the first bid.

4. Right way to write an Alibaba RFQ

Writing an RFQ is the most important part of this form. Follow a specific template so that you don’t miss out on important details.

First, introduce yourself and your business. Add a brief background about the company and mention the company’s goal. Next, list down the product specifications and the quantity you want to order.

You can also mention any specific requirement or any customized detail such as the height of room chairs.

You can also mention your selling plan that you might buy more products in the future if the first collaboration goes well.

In the next section, you can mention any specific certification you want the supplier to have regarding manufacturing quality or safety standards.

And the last section is about the payment and delivery. You can choose delivery either by air, sea, or land depending upon your geographical location.

The supplier’s price will vary according to the type of delivery, but it doesn’t matter a lot at the start since you are just getting a quote.

These details are pretty much enough to attract good suppliers from all over the market.

5. Check and submit the RFQ

Now that you have filled out all the important details, you are ready to submit the RFQ. Check once before submitting and if everything looks good, go ahead and submit your bid.

After approval of your RFQ, you can see the supplier’s quotation in the “manage the RFQ” option. You can view the details of quotations by clicking “view quotation”.

You can even chat with the supplier through the “contact now” option. Once you think a supplier can deliver your desired product, you can take the next step and start negotiating final terms and sample orders.

Chapter 5: Top key advantages of Alibaba RFQ

Helps in reaching out suppliers for customized or new products

There are so many reasons to select Alibaba RFQ service over any other option available. Here are some examples in which Alibaba RFQ service is your saviour.

1. Helps in reaching out suppliers for customized or new products

When you intend to develop a novel product, not every vendor is willing to take the risk and develop the product for you and that is very natural of them.

However, with the Alibaba RFQ service, you can reach multiple vendors who will be willing to spend their time and effort on your idea. So you don’t have to worry about finding a vendor.

2. Helps in searching suppliers with products with unique features

When you are looking for some product with new features that cannot be described easily, and it’s even harder to find such a unique product through keywords.

Submitting an RFQ is the most suitable option in this case, as it connects you with the right supplier that offers your desired product in no time.

Helps in searching suppliers with products with unique features

3. Assists in reaching out to suppliers for finding same products as your competitor sell

When you want to compete with your rivals at the same level, RFQ can help you as you can reach out to the vendors selling the exact product you want.

By submitting an RFQ, you can list all the specific features you want so that the vendors who have the same product can reach out to you. This strategy ensures that you don’t get defeated by your competitors.

4. Details to be provided to the supplier within an RFQ

Every RFQ is different depending upon the goal of the project and the need of your business. However, here are some essential details that must be provided to suppliers within an RFQ.

  • Complete description of products

Request for quotation includes all the specific requirements mentioned in detail by the buyer. Buyers also mention the features they want to have in the product such as components, materials, dimensions, and the functions of the product.

  • Volume of the intended purchase

Buyers also include the exact quantity of the products or parts they want so that vendors can submit their quotations accordingly. For example, 500 pcs or 1000 pcs, etc.

  • Parameters meeting the quality level

The next important thing a buyer mentions in the RFQ is the quality parameters that the product must fulfil. This helps to ensure that the vendors submit price quotations only when they have the product with the desired quality.

  • Delivering service that is adding value

The RFQ also includes the delivery requirements like how, when, and where the products need to be delivered. The buyer also mentions whether value-added services are required or not.

Chapter 6: Step by step process to send an RFQ on Alibaba.com?

Step by step process to send an RFQ on Alibaba

There is no hard and fast rule for sending out an RFQ at Alibaba because it all comes down to the goal of your business and your budget. Thus you don’t need any special procedure or any specific template to send out an RFQ.

You just need to make simple documents with all the requirements mentioned. Here are some steps mentioned below that you need to follow while sending out an RFQ document.

1. Post made by the buyer for the product/purchase

Buyers can make the post by accessing the RFQ page on Alibaba.com. You can access the page either by selecting the “Get Quotations Now” button, or you can enter the URL rfq.alibaba.com in the search bar.

From here you can submit your RFQ to a specific vendor. There is a tick box given at the end, if you select the option, it will recommend similar vendors within 24 hours.

This helps you reach out to other potential vendors in case your selected vendor doesn’t respond in time.

2. The requirements are reviewed

Once you have drafted your RFQ with all the specifications mentioned, post it on Alibaba.com RFQ. Your RFQ will be reviewed by industry experts before publishing. Make sure to reach out at least 10 or more different vendors for RFQ submission because of different reasons.

The requirements are reviewed

  • About half of the vendors will be unable to meet your demands or won’t even respond to your RFQ.
  • Some will fail to meet your standards and regulations.
  • Many vendors won’t provide you with the reference sample which is acceptable and is according to your requirement.
  • Reaching out to different vendors will help you determine the market rate of the product by comparing different quoted prices.
  • Keep an extra supplier as a backup just in case things go wrong with the selected supplier at the last moment. Having a backup option makes things easier as you can switch suppliers.

3. Suppliers start providing quotations

After RFQ submission, interested vendors will start submitting their price quotations. Generally, it is recommended to keep the vendor pool small enough so that responses can be easily managed.

Suppliers start providing quotations

4. Quotations are reviewed by the buyer

After the deadline has passed, it’s time for the buyer to go through the price quotations and select the one that best matches their business demands. You need to thoroughly review the quotation file to ensure that the vendor has quoted the price based on your product specifications. Make sure that the supplier has reconfirmed all the specifications in the form of a list:

  • Product requirements
  • Cost
  • MOQ
  • Sample cost

Quotations are reviewed by the buyer

5. Deal is made after communication and negotiation

Once you have reviewed all the quotation files from suppliers, don’t act hastily to choose one vendor or directly place an order. Instead, shortlist 2 to 3 suppliers and start a discussion with them, and place a sample order to see if they have the capability to make your product. Because what matters is their ability to make the product, not just the price quotation.

Perform some additional checks along with the price to choose the right supplier for you. Additional checks include:

  • Vendor’s safety standards are compatible with the market or not?
  • Their manufacturing system is overlooked by the quality management system or not?
  • A supplier must have social compliance certification.
  • Make sure to check the supplier’s registered capital as well.

If a supplier meets all your demands and expectations, select that one and go ahead with the procedure. But keep in mind to have a backup supplier just in case of some emergency.

Chapter 7: Frequently Asked Questions about Alibaba.com RFQ

FAQs about Smart Sourcing and Traditional Sourcing

1. Is it free to submit an RFQ at Alibaba.com?

Yes. The Alibaba.com RFQ service is completely free of cost. However, if you want to avail of some additional services and speed up the process, you can pay some extra sum.

2. Does Alibaba.com guarantee only qualified suppliers will respond to an RFQ?

Alibaba.com.com registers only qualified suppliers that are legal and registered companies. So you can rest assured about the authenticity of the suppliers. However, a certain supplier can qualify your product criteria depending upon your decision of choosing the right supplier for your business.

Alibaba.com is a platform that helps you connect with a variety of potential suppliers, it’s up to you to determine which one is the right fit for you. Remember! Alibaba RFQ service is responsible for only the first introduction, the rest is in your hands.

3. Do all suppliers respond to an RFQ?

All suppliers do not respond to the RFQ you submitted. There could be a variety of reasons behind that. Either they cannot fulfil your demand or fail to comply with the company’s regulations.

Some are unsuccessful in submitting the required sample order. Hence make sure to bid to at least 10 to 12 suppliers so you can have multiple options even if half of them don’t respond.

It is also safe to have a backup supplier in case your negotiation with the primary supplier doesn’t turn out the way you wanted.

It is also recommended to use Alibaba RFQ service as an additional procurement strategy rather than an only procurement strategy. Relying only on Alibaba.com RFQ service is not a good idea if you are in hurry.

4. Can the prices be changed after the submission of an RFQ?

Yes, the suppliers can change their initial quoted price after the submission of their quotation file. The price can go up and down depending upon the market rate of materials, manufacturing costs, etc.

To be exact, the quoted price hold value for only a month or two. After that, it can be changed as a result of fluctuating market prices.

Besides the initial price from the supplier depends on your mentioned information. And if you fail to specify certain aspects of the material, the supplier can come back with an altered price later on.

That’s why it is crucial to mention all the requirements in detail so that supplier can quote the exact price in the first quotation.

5. How do I close an RFQ?

You can close your RFQ if you don’t want to receive further quotations on your bid. You can simply go to the My Alibaba and sign into Message centre.

From the drop-down menu, select the option of RFQ. Select the RFQ you intend to close and push the “close” button.

In case the RFQ has been expired, you won’t see any “close” option. Keep in mind that you cannot delete your RFQ, you can only close it.

6. What to do if the RFQ is rejected?

In case your RFQ was rejected, make sure to fulfil the requirements mentioned. Unless and until your RFQ doesn’t match the minimum qualifying criteria set by industry experts, it won’t be accepted.

And if you want to reject any specific quotation from a supplier, that is not possible. However, you can rate the quotations as per your liking through the Manage RFQ option.

Conclusion

Alibaba.com RFQ service is a B2B marketplace that helps businesses and companies find potential suppliers for their products. The service is completely free of cost and anybody can avail the service.

Alibaba.com RFQ service helps you save your precious time and resources by connecting you to qualified suppliers from all over the world.

By availing of Alibaba.com RFQ service, buyers can enhance their purchasing efficiency without exceeding their set budget. By reaching out to multiple suppliers, buyers can get an idea of the market prices and hence select the supplier offering the best price among others.

This service is right for the buyers who want to introduce transparency and authenticity in their procurement service.