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    December 10, 2018      


 
2/26/2003 - Small downtown Ripon shops to get big online audience

As printed in the Oshkosh Northwestern 2/26/2003
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By Patricia Wolff
of the Northwestern

RIPON — The Ripon Chamber of Commerce and a local Web site developer are working to bring stores in Ripon into the world of e-commerce.

A company called i.t. Interactive, LLC has launched a site called www.shopripon.com designed to help stores in small cities broaden their customer base, said Ellen Sorensen, executive director of the Ripon chamber.

So far, the company is working with stores in Ripon and Green Lake, but intends to expand into other area cities, said Ed Fischer, of i.t. Interactive, LLC.

Stores with unique and one-of-a-kind items benefit the most from putting their wares online, Fischer said.

Because Ripon has many shops of this kind, it makes sense to have a collective presence on the Web, Sorensen said.

Each year many people visit Ripon during the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture fly-in. Others come to Ripon to attend events at Ripon College. The city hosts numerous business travelers, Sorensen said.

Sometimes, after these visitors have returned home they remember something they saw in a shop that they want to purchase.

This is where e-commerce comes in, Sorensen said. It allows tourists to do return shopping when geographically they can't.

For example, someone who collects a particular item can search the Web using the name of the item. The Ripon site will show up, indicating where the item can be purchased, Sorensen said.

Fischer has been working for a couple years to bring e-commerce to Ripon. It hasn't been smooth sailing all the way because people are apprehensive, he said.

They think it's going to be too difficult, not secure or too expensive. There has been a general resistance, Fischer said.

Chamber officials have been working to dispel those fears.

In the past someone might have come to us needing a Web site and it might have cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, Fischer said.

That's no longer the case. By setting up a site to handle multiple stores, the cost is reduced. Set up fees are estimated at $50 to $75 and monthly host fees might run from $25 to $45, Fischer said.

Part of the reason for the lower cost is that the store owner does the work. He or she supplies the photos and the information and updates the site as needed. All they need is a digital camera or a scanner and a little computer knowledge, Fischer said.

Online shopping is designed for people who have visited local stores and have gone home but now want to purchase something that caught their eye, Sorensen said.

It is especially nifty for shoppers who work long hours and need to purchase something in a hurry for a gift or some other reason, she said.

They can log on to www.shopripon.com, select what they want, pay for it and even have it delivered, Sorensen said.

More information is available at www.itinteractive.com.


 

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