Rosetta Stone opens Retail Stores targeting Hollywood and Capitol Hill

Rosetta Stone is opening two more “experience-stores” as part of its new marketing campaign “More than Words: Understanding.”. The two new location join Rosetta Stone’s two existing experience-stores at The Mall at Short Hills, in Short Hills, N.J., and 2 Times Square in New York City.

Other than the classic kiosks in shopping malls and airports those experience-stores seem to be based on the very successful Apple Store model. Interested people can go into the Rosetta Stone experience stores and experience the new flagship product TOTALe prior to purchase. There are also Rosetta Stone experts in the store to guide the customers.

The two new stores are located at the Beverly Center in West Hollywood, Calif., and Tysons Galleria in McLean, Va. and those locations are picked for an interesting reason. Rosetta Stone wants to target

…the company’s celebrity devotees as well as Washington D.C.’s government elite and business leaders.

So rather than the bottom up approach of competitors like Livemocha, busuu and Babbel which target a mass audience Rosetta Stone is trying to get their product in the hands of celebrities, politicians, members of the government and managers which could then result in top down sales through contracts with the government or big brands on the one hand and raised brand recognition through Hollywood celebrities who might talk / tweet about the product to their fans.

According to the Washington Business Journal sales in the US are down 28% in the first quarter and Rosetta Stone even predicts that bookings will even fall more through 2011. If the new experience-store concept will be able to stop that fall or even drive new sales will be interesting to see. But it’s a pretty defendable retail strategy, especially with Livemocha entering the classic markets of Rosetta Stone and being sold in bookstores through its partnership with Collins recently.

Picture: Beverly Center

Kay Alexander is the co-founder and creative director of EDUKWEST. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+