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3 Hot Stocks Beating Amazon at Its Own Game

By Rick Munarriz – Aug 13, 2020 at 8:35AM

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The world's leading online retailer does a lot of things right, but some smaller players are doing some things even better. (AMZN 0.58%) is the world's leading online retailer, and it's not even close. Jeff Bezos has built a dominant marketplace, catapulting the stock into the stratosphere as one of the market's most valuable companies. 

Amazon tends to do a lot of things right, but that doesn't mean it has cornered every online market. Wayfair (W 0.78%), Chewy (CHWY -0.58%), and Etsy (ETSY -0.69%) are some of the market winners that have carved cozy businesses despite competing against Amazon. Let's take a closer look at what's making these Amazon conquerers tick.

A lady holding four bags as she rides up an escalator at a mall.

Image source: Getty Images.


You can certainly buy larger furniture and smaller home decor pieces through Amazon, but Wayfair is growing faster than Amazon through aggressive marketing and high-tech tricks as it rips the free-shipping page out of the Amazon playbook on most orders over $35. 

Net revenue at Wayfair shot 84% higher in last week's second-quarter report. There's no denying that the pandemic has played a part in Wayfair's monster growth. Folks are home, many local showrooms are closed, and spending all of that time at home is going to make folks ponder furniture changes. 

Wayfair has always tried hard. It's a rite of passage to receive a Wayfair mailing with a discount code for first-time customers after a move. Wayfair also goes the extra mile via augmented reality that Amazon has yet to tackle. Two years ago its computer vision team introduced a feature where folks can visually embed products into your actual home to see if it meets with your approval. A year earlier, it rolled out visual search so customers can upload items to find available matches. Wayfair is raising the bar as an online furniture retailer, and it's why it's one of the market's hottest stocks since the market bottomed out in mid-March. 


Amazon has probably served your pet well over the years, but more and more consumers are turning to an online retailer dedicated to keeping you well stocked on food, treats, toys, and other essentials for your furry friend. Chewy's net sales rose 46% in its latest quarter. Who's a good boy? Who's a good girl?

Chewy's key to retention for its 15 million customers is another Amazon trick. Chewy has an Autoship feature -- similar to Amazon's Subscribe & Save -- where shoppers receive discounts by having shipments at set intervals to replenish their pet food and treats. Subscribe & Save may not seem like a game changer on Amazon, but for Chewy, Autoship accounts for 68% of its sales.   


Amazon was selling furnishings before Wayfair and dry dog kibble before Chewy, but it was a different story when Etsy started to make waves with its marketplace for artsy entrepreneurs to put their arts and crafts skills to work. With Etsy gaining traction heading into its 2015 IPO, Amazon decided to crash the debutante's party by rolling out its own Etsy-like category. 

Amazon Handmade tried to woo artisans to get crafty on its platform, but sometimes you can't beat a community. Etsy has had its hiccups along the way, but it's rolling these days. Revenue soared 137% in its latest quarter, fueled by a 146% burst in gross merchandise sales. Masks were the star attraction, as folks flocked to Etsy to grab one-of-a-kind fashionable face coverings. However, Etsy's marketplace activity outside masks is still accelerating sharply. 

Amazon is doing just fine these days. It's not losing any sleep over smaller specialists. However, with Wayfair, Chewy, and Etsy growing faster than the planet's leading e-tailer, it's hard to resist them as some of the market's top growth stocks.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rick Munarriz has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Etsy, and Wayfair. The Motley Fool recommends Chewy, Inc and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Amazon Stock Quote
$93.95 (0.58%) $0.54
Wayfair Stock Quote
$32.27 (0.78%) $0.25
Etsy Stock Quote
$119.48 (-0.69%) $0.83
Chewy, Inc. Stock Quote
Chewy, Inc.
$40.96 (-0.58%) $0.24

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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