Ocado is hoping to lure shoppers from rivals by allowing them to import details from their other online accounts so they can start shopping more quickly.

Speaking at its annual conference last week, Ocado said it would soon add the option to its registration process.

New customers would be able to bring with them information such as their personal details and favourite shopping items when switching from the likes of Tesco and Waitrose, much in the same way that mobile phone users can take their contacts with them when changing operator.

The feature would slash the time it took to start shopping and was part of a broader effort to make it easier for new customers to enter the online store, Ocado said.

Consumers would not expect to have to tell shopkeepers about their preferences before entering a store, so they shouldn’t have to do so online, it added.

Last month, Ocado cut the minimum number of questions new customers had to answer in order to start shopping online from 14 to four.

It has also made it possible for customers to log in using Facebook.

At the conference, Ocado said Facebook would be central to its efforts to attract new customers. Existing Ocado shoppers can already invite a friend to shop at Ocado using Facebook.

New Ocado chairman Sir Stuart Rose compared Ocado to Amazon and ASOS. “Rose gave an entertaining but ambitious appraisal of where he feels Ocado is. He termed it ‘The Tipping Point’,” said one supplier. “Ready to surge, I feel he meant, rather than tip off the edge and vanish.”

Last weekend, Waitrose MD Mark Price warned that its legal team would examine any deal between Ocado and Morrisons to ensure it didn’t breach Waitrose’s own contract with the online retailer, which runs until 2020.