Last week we made a long overdue trip to Fnatic’s Bunkr, the new concept esports store, opened on Shoreditch’s Redchurch Street.
Benoit Pagotto, Brand Marketing Director at Fnatic, was on hand to show us round, answer some questions and let us play with their VR set up. At the back of the store there was a lot of work was underway with Fnatic set to open offices here in the new year, wherein they’re likely to be joined by other UK based esports organisations and companies.
Here’s what Benoit had to say.
Esports Insider: You’ve been open a few weeks now. How much interest has there been?
Benoit: We picked this place for a reason. Redchurch Street is the street in London where business is mixed with leisure; many shops also have a cafe inside and they host events which made us think it was an ideal location.
There is a lot of foot traffic too so it’s a good place for us to put the esports universe out there. If you don’t play, or watch Twitch or you haven’t been to the tournament, you probably don’t have much awareness of esports or rather its size.
Traffic wise, we get the natural foot traffic – we benefit from Christmas shoppers especially at the weekend and there’s the flower market nearby. We also get inbound traffic as we use the Bunkr for events. We have ‘Meet the Players’ type of events which can get busy, and the numbers turning up at these gets the attention of passersby.
Esports Insider: The Bunkr seems more brand awareness than attempt to drive physical sales from the store…
Benoit: The sales have been going better than we expected. But definitely, the main goal is not sales; we didn’t expect to be selling a tonne of merchandise outside of targeted events.
“At Fnatic we always try to be the first to try out new ideas.”
It’s not even a marketing stunt. It gives us the ability to try things out, and a physical experience, especially for esports, is a part of this. At Fnatic we always try to be the first to try out new ideas. When we decide to do something, we try it out. And this has worked out well.
Esports Insider: From the merch on sale what has proven popular?
Benoit: The book has been a hit! Some people don’t know anything about esports so this is a great purchase.
Our Fnatic Gear, specifically the DUEL headset, has gone done well. This was produced in collaboration with AIAIAI; a brand which has been used by DJs and sound producers for years meaning it’s also a great music headset. So yes it has a premium price for a gaming headset, but if you consider its potential as a top range music headset too it’s cheap.
Esports Insider: Will we see Bunkrs popping up in other places?
Benoit: Certainly, and LA has potential, but we don’t think of it as ‘Let’s do a shop for one month’, it’s a pop-up so it’s never permanent.
Next year we will be aggressive in terms of events as that’s where our fans are. Esports is an industry driven by passion so we want to be there to offer them something different as an experience, and not only have a t-shirt on sale in a booth.
We’ll be at all the major events next year!