Hotel Chocolat chief executive Angus Thirlwell has warned retailers not to get tied up with the “complexity” of online personalisation and risk losing sales.

Thirlwell told The Cloud Retail Week Conference: “You can take personalisation too far. If somebody has been shopping for dark chocolate one day that does not mean they will want the same the next – it may be a gift.

“There is a danger that you can strap people up with too many deals and trying to be too clever.”

Shop Direct Group retail director Gareth Jones said advances in HTML coding and video technology will enable increased personalisation on retailer’s websites.

Jones said: “We now have data of what people want and buy before they transact. We are delivering the journey to what they have been browsing.

“When you are presenting shoppers with a website with 50,000 SKUs then you have to find a way to present it in a way that will interest them.”

Nectar managing director Jan-Pieter Lips said direct marketing drawn from loyalty data will be the main marketing tool in future and forecast the level of spending on TV and press advertising would be reduced.

Jones said social media presents both opportunities and problems for retailers. He said: “The big question is how you monetise the interaction you get from social media.

“People are trying to force people on to their Facebook site. Our view is that the data that we get from social media will play a huge part in our business.”