- Community Development
Who We Are - Opllo is an eCommerce website created by Community Ventures, designed specifically for small businesses to reach a new, broader audience of customers through online sales while bypassing the usual cost and technical burdens needed for eCommerce. The website will be a destination for customers to shop and support an aggregate of local businesses within a given geographic area.
Supporting Small Businesses - Opllo was created to support small businesses and to strengthen local economies in rural areas. Many of these businesses face similar challenges in modernizing their sales model by leveraging eCommerce technology. These businesses have traditionally faced a variety of barriers including overhead costs, lack of technical expertise, lack of access to quality product photography and videography services. Opllo addresses these problems by creating a low barrier to entry for businesses with low subscription costs, a pre-built website platform with user-friendly customization options to meet the unique branding needs of each business. Our subscription will include the support of our Business Development Specialists, available to provide guidance on updating business models, tracking online inventory, and more, while also providing photographers and videographers for product photography and video advertising production. As a result, Opllo’s business model will help small businesses reach a broader audience of consumers, increase sales revenue through online sales, modernize their business by creating a sustainable online presence, and support the local economy through the retention and creation of jobs.
Geographic Proximity - Opllo stands out among the established and emerging eCommerce platforms because of its unique focus on geographic organizing, which will allow customers to not only shop their favorite merchant, but more importantly, to browse a collection of all merchants within a county. This “virtual market” concept is designed to create exposure, not just for individual businesses, but for an entire local economy. Individual small businesses don’t have the market influence to attract all customers from a geographic area by themselves, but a collection of businesses from the same area can create a shopping destination for customers. Imagine shopping online at a local dress boutique, but then as you complete your purchase, you can see all the local shops in physical proximity to that boutique. You can now browse and patron each one of those shops, the same way you would window shop in person down a street of merchants. For small town business owners, their sales opportunities are traditionally limited to local in-person foot traffic from the same pool of customers. With Opllo, those same businesses will instantly have access to a world of potential consumers with the click of a button. This creates a chance to showcase the unique cultures and styles of various local towns, each with their own unique flavor and style, while highlighting the overall craftsmanship and uniqueness of locally-made products and goods.
Opllo’s Funding Partners - To date, Opllo has received funding from: Appalachian Community Capital through the Appalachian Regional Commission, NeighborWorks America, the U. S. Small Business Administration through the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME) and Old Republic Bank, the website’s founding partner. We are grateful for these partners who share in the vision for this project, and have demonstrated their commitment to supporting small businesses in new and innovative ways.
For more information, please contact:
Lowell Sellards, Director of eCommerce