April 23, 2009, 12:00 AM

For arts merchants, ArtFire designs a shopping cart to go

ArtFire, an e-marketplace for 20,000 independent artisans, has developed Rapid Cart as a shopping cart that its member retailers can deploy to process sales through blogs and other third-party web sites.

ArtFire, an e-marketplace for independent artisans, has developed Rapid Cart as a shopping cart that its member retailers can deploy to process sales through blogs and other third-party web sites, says vice president of marketing Tony Ford.

Since launching last November, ArtFire says it has signed up 20,000 merchants listing a total of about 200,000 products ranging from handmade apparel and jewelry to books and artwork.

ArtFire, based in Tucson, AZ, hosts two tiers of merchants. The first tier can sell up to ten items for no fee; the second tier also can list up to ten items, but pay $12 per month for complete access to services including online marketing and connections to blogs.

Those services now also include Rapid Cart, which second-tier merchants can place on blogs and other third-party web sites to capture online purchases, says Ford, who is a former project manager for The Home Depot.

The Rapid Cart, which appears as a pop-up window, is designed so that shoppers can complete a purchase transaction without leaving or even losing sight of the third-party site. It comes pre-built with connections to PayPal and Google Checkout, plus high-grade data encryption to protect payment transactions, Ford says.

The average time for a Rapid Cart payment transaction is less than 28 seconds, he adds.

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