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Nortel Cashing in Through Electronic Commerce

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Triangle companies are moving quickly to electronic commerce, selling products and services on the Internet. If you know your way around, you can even find products or services you won't find in stores. WRAL OnLine reporter Tom Lawrence introduces you to a Triangle company that's cashing in on e-business.

Norteltelephones are sold in the area but under the names of telephone companies. Now, through Nortel's web site, consumers can order products online and the company can expand business without sales offices.

Nortel's "web shop" has been online just a month and has not been promoted. Saundra Graman says an important factor in Nortel's electronic commerce strategy is increased sales."The expansion of our distribution channels to have our products more available to the everyday consumer."Generally these are high end telephones aimed at the small office/home office market. Nortel stresses it's site is secure and offers several shipping options.

Nortel's Gary Richman says the company already uses the Internet dealing with its business customers."Not just people looking for phones but the broad array of customers that Nortel has, mostly business to business customers, want more rather than less."Selling phones like these is important, but so is saving money."It also has the potential to reduce costs; our costs which obviously we care about, but also our business customers' costs of how they do business with us."Consumers may save money too, but the primary advantage of electronic commerce is convenience. You can order anytime, day or night and you don't have to shop!

Analysts predict a huge upsurge in electronic commerce based primarily on convenience for consumers and costs savings for businesses. Already, you can buy most anything on the web from cars to groceries... and the list is growing.