The interaction between the physical and digital realms has become increasingly important as we live our lives simultaneously on- and offline. For small businesses, social media is an important way to generate interest in their goods and increase their online presence – but what about in their physical space? French startup Smiirl has created a way for a company’s online popularity to be flaunted in-store in real-time with a physical counter, the Fliike, that tallies the number of Facebook likes a company’s page receives as they happen.
The mechanical counter was created expressly for small businesses, with a capability of going up to 100,000 likes, as an alternative to expensive digital installations that larger corporations use to display their Facebook presence. Says CEO and co-founder of Smiirl, Gauthier Nadud:
Screens are everywhere, that’s why we provide a simple design using mechanical interactions, thus giving [the] Internet some tangible aspect.
Bringing tangibility to a business’ virtual identity is one important aspect of the Fliike – if passersby see how many likes a store has, they may be tempted to enter – but another important element is that it may encourage those very customers to become fans on Facebook themselves, if only to see the physical flipping of the counter. Fliike acts as a medium between offline and online realms that both have equal weight to business of the 21st century.