New site feature: The Session Shop

New site feature: The Session Shop

I’m pleased to announce the opening of a brand new section of this site: The Session Shop.

https://thesession.org/shop/

Basically, it’s a way of browsing Amazon without leaving The Session.

There’s a straightforward search form that you can use. Enter what it is you’re searching for, which section of Amazon you want to search (music is selected by default), and the Amazon nationality: America (.com), Britain (.co.uk) and Germany (.de).

Sorry Canada, Japan and everywhere else: Amazon aren’t offering web services for those stores yet.

You’ll get up to ten results from your search. Clicking on any of these takes you through to page with price details and reviews. From here, you can then click through to Amazon where you can buy, add to wishlist, etc.

If you do purchase anything, a small referral fee goes to The Session. I’ll use this to offset bandwidth costs or else for Amazon gift certificates to be used as prizes, etc.

On the front page of the shop, there’s also a tab labelled “lists”:

https://thesession.org/shop/index.php/lists

This reveals a list of lists, so to speak. I’ve gathered together a series of recommendations from the “Listmania” section of Amazon. They’re all related to Irish music in some way. Simply click on a list title to reveal its contents.

That’s pretty much it really.

A couple of points:

It’s geared towards music products, Irish music in particlar, but you can use it find products in lots of other categories: books, DVDs, electronics, etc.

The amazon.com searches tend to be more reliable than amazon.co.uk and amazon.de searches. They tend to bring up “technical difficulty” messages fairly often.

The recordings section will now link through to the shop. After the track listing of a recording, there’ll be a link to search the shop for that album and artist.


I hope you enjoy using the shop. I had fun building it and I’m quite please with how it’s turned out. I think I’ll be using it myself quite a bit.

Let me know what you think. If you have any questions or comments, post them here and I’ll try to respond in a timely fashion.

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

That looks like a nice clean implementation Jeremy. Just so I’m clear, does this mean The Session will get a fee *whatever* we buy from Amazon, including books, gadgets, etc? 🙂

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

That’s right. As long as you go to Amazon via The Session, there’ll be a referral.

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

This is quite handy as I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon already. It’s a pity about the technical difficulties on the UK site, though. Hopefully, things will get sorted out. The last time I bought CDs from the American site, I was “hammered” for tax so I didn’t save anything in the end.
Thanks for the work, Jeremy. Good luck with the shop.

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

Nicely integrated Jeremy, is that why you (the site) was down a little last night?

Hope you can iron out the uk technical difficulites. I’m using this feature on the intranet site I mentioned to you before, which can be quite lucrative, given the general expense of the books!!!

Posted by .

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

It’s useful having quick access to Amazon from the Session but as this currently only works well with amazon.com (USA) everyone should be aware that anything you buy from the USA over £18 is subject to import duty (calculated on the value of the goods plus the shipping cost) plus VAT plus an administration cost. I found out about this only when I had to fork out nearly another 50% on delivery for a couple of CD’s I got from the states.
You can get outline details of all this from:
http://www.sloanefox.freeserve.co.uk/importukduty.htm

Michael

Posted by .

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

Yes, that happened to me too, Michael. Thanks for outlining the pitfalls in more detail.

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

Yeah, you’ll get smacked down if try to get big orders from Amazon.com delivered to the UK.

That said, a friend of mine says he regularly makes small purchases from Amazon.com rather than Amazon.co.uk because it was often cheaper and the delivery was often faster(!).

Is anybody experiencing those technical difficulties I mentioned on the UK and German versions? It’s just something I noticed during development: while the American site was fairly snappy in sending back data, the UK and German ones felt a bit slow and sometimes returned no data (hence the “technical difficulties” message).

Unfortunately there’s nothing much I can do about it from this end… apart from making more entertaining error messages 😉

Any feedback at all would be much appreciated. If there’s a feature you’d like to see incorporated into the shop, post it here. I can’t promise I’ll be able to implement it but I still really like to know what people would like.

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

I use both the .com and .co.uk sites a lot and haven’t noticed any difference in responsiveness. But that’s just as an end user, so I suppose there could be a problem with the .co.uk data feed versus the .com one?

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

The UK import duty is a pain, as I unexpectedly found out to my cost in 2001. My daughter and her boy-friend (later to become her husband) were then back-packing in Australia and spent a few days on a didgeridoo-making course. When they had made the instruments they packaged them and mailed them to their respective parents in the UK and Belgium, rather than carry them round the rest of Australia and Malayasia.
A week or so later the expected didge was delivered to my house by an international carrier, and it was then I discovered I had to pay them £49 in duty (which the carrier had already paid to UK Customs & Excise) before they handed it over. All the carriage and mailing costs had already been paid by my daughter in Australia, so the £49 duty came as an unwelcome surprise. Her boyfriend’s didge delivered to his parents in Belgium attracted no such import duty.

Trevor

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

Customs do fail to pick up on the odd imported parcel, but, sad to say, they’re a lot more efficient in this area than they used to be!

It’s worth bearing in mind that (according to the Customs website) where imported goods are exempt from tax by virtue of their low value, the costs of post and packing are *not* included in this value. Which is good news, as it does indeed make small purchases from the USA eminently affordable (although, in the case of Amazon.co.uk, their free shipping offers close the gap a wee bit, compared to .com). Also, the EU sets the exemption limits, and in Euros, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the Euro, rather than GBP, price of goods you purchase, as minor fluctuations in currency conversion could end up costing you the odd tenner. The current limits as set are E22 for bought goods (£18 is the working equivalent) and E45 (£36, ditto) for goods which are gifts from one individual to another. Where these values are exceeded, they will indeed include P+P (S+H) in calculating VAT, duty and admin fees, adding insult to injury!

I’ve had sellers offer to mark valuable goods as gifts, or as goods imported for repair (items for repair and re-export are exempt), and they’ll offer to declare a low value; but Customs do open parcels, and read the enclosed paperwork, and it’s easier to accept all these taxes as an unfortunate accident of geography, rather than risk getting caught conspiring to escape our tax burden. And if the value is higher than that declared and the goods get lost in the post (distressingly commonplace), your insurance cover is stuffed.

I suppose most people here have heard this quote from Benjamin Franklin: “On my death, my remains are to be cremated and the ashes sent in an envelope to the Inland Revenue with a note saying ‘Now you have everything!’”

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

In the case of my daughter’s didge I believe she put a value on it for insurance purposes, bearing in mind she spent the best part of a week making and decorating it, so I imagine that is what attracted the £49 import duty. Now if she had only thought to send it to her boyfriend’s parents’ address in Belgium …
Isn’t hindsight wonderful?
Trevor

Re: New site feature: The Session Shop

I have a hard time accepting that anyone would have to pay VAT on something they’d made themselves! It’s a rum do!