Sujith Samuel

Innovation driving the future – an interview with Sujith Samuel, General Manager, E-commerce Operations and Customer Experience

Sujith Samuel, General Manager, E-commerce Operations and Customer Experience, joined BMMI over 20 years ago, with his role continuously evolving to where he is today: running BMMI’s e-commerce division. The Corporate Communications and CSR team recently sat down with Sujith to learn more about the history of BMMI’s e-commerce business and the exciting path ahead in this sector as the Group continues to go through its digital transformation.

How did you get into the e-commerce part of the business?

I was always looking to take on new things that I found challenging and exciting, even if not necessarily a part of my day to day duties. BMMI began recognizing me for my part in supporting innovation by taking on new projects. One of the project teams I was assigned to focused on a website redesign for BMMI Shops. That was my first foray into this online space. At the time, we had a functional website but we recognised that there were issues and much room for improvement. Eventually, I was challenged to lead the project and I said ‘let’s get it done!’ It soon became a live and kicking platform instead of a static website and we officially changed it to an e-commerce portal back in 2009. This was our first experimentation into the e-commerce industry.

How did e-commerce at BMMI progress after that?

After launching the website, we soon realised we had a good opportunity to help further our reach to our customers and make sure they had access to the products they wanted. As we continued to evolve, we realised we needed an ecosystem that would actually help us take our e-commerce forward. So, in 2013, we re-platformed the website for BMMI Shops and also introduced Alosra into our e-commerce stream. This undertaking was a predominantly major success in terms of growth, and it made us explore ways that we could provide better services and experiences for our customers. We started adding more resources, and looked at all supporting functions such as logistics, and we slowly built a whole ecosystem around our e-commerce. In 2015, we took it one step further by launching a BMMI Shops mobile application as well.

How did we evolve to where we are today?

We’ve experimented with things in the past, and I believe we are at that crossroads again. We are constantly thinking about how we can provide better service solutions to our customers. What we want to do is to give our customers what they want at the time that they want it. So, we are working towards better fulfilling that promise. We’re changing again, adding further resources, focus and effort into our e-commerce so that we can solve any customer problems. We have a lot of very exciting things planned in this particular area so stay tuned!

Why does BMMI place so much emphasis on the customer experience?

I think the underlying fact is that you cannot just build a website and assume people will use it. We work around that principle. We aren’t here to just give you a website, we’re providing you with a service.  That has become BMMI’s differentiating factor, and it applies to all our business streams and not just e-commerce. And although you might not always satisfy the entirety of customers’ requirements, what we aspire to is being the best in what we do, and that takes a holistic approach.

For example, BMMI is known for providing customers with products that might not be easily accessible in the local market. So, we focus on getting a wider range of products that our customers want, and we take pride in the way we manage our logistics and supply chain to such quality standards. Our transportation is chilled end-to-end, and we truly take care of our products. Many of our products are ultra-fresh and they require a lot of care. We fly them at regular intervals and make sure they reach the customers’ door on time, in pristine condition. It is all integrated. Furthermore, our e-commerce gives the customer the choice to choose instead of dictating what they should get or offering them limited options. This is how we aim to continuously win the hearts and minds of our customers.

What excites you about working in e-commerce, especially at BMMI?

For me, I find it thrilling to address a very complex problem and simplify it. I don’t want people wracking their brains to get the service or product they want. When I see a problem, I think about how I can break it down, and that is what keeps me driven. If you take away all the extra layers, it comes down to a simple problem statement: how can I best serve my customer? And if we hear feedback that our customers had a good experience, that’s my job done – they had a smooth experience without thinking of what went on behind the scenes to make it happen.

At BMMI, I really appreciate how the culture allows us to flourish and be innovative. We are given the added freedom to do things. You are not restricted solely by your official job responsibilities, you are trusted to experiment. We are also not afraid of failure. We try to do things a little differently and a little ahead of time. That’s what we aspire to, and it might not come to see the light of day, but we always strive for better. We continue to experiment to this day, and I feel the support of my employees and colleagues, whom without we would have never reached where we are today. The innovation and boldness of our people are two of the driving forces of why BMMI is a step ahead.