When many people think about the stock market, they inevitably turn to Wall Street. Indeed, every day in this column, the only three benchmarks we talk about are the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC), and Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) -- all of which happened to make minor moves higher on Tuesday.

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

+0.03%

+9

S&P 500

+0.03%

+1

Nasdaq Composite

+0.19%

+28

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Most of the companies that make up these three benchmarks hail from the U.S., but if you limit yourself to American companies, you're arbitrarily missing out on some great investing opportunities. On Tuesday, big gains on some international stocks in an area already well-known for producing huge returns showed just how lucrative global investing can be.

Credit card on keyboard on a desk with a cup of coffee.

Image source: Getty Images.

The cash cow of e-commerce

E-commerce stocks have done extremely well over the long run. The obvious example is Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), which grew from a niche online bookseller to form a truly colossal e-commerce empire, with an ecosystem that has made it the industry leader and threatened countless brick-and-mortar retail competitors.

Trends favoring e-commerce aren't limited to the U.S. market, however. The case for online shopping and commerce is just as strong abroad as it is domestically. In fact, in some areas, e-commerce makes even more sense, because shorter distances between producer and buyer make logistics easier to handle and fast delivery easier to accomplish.

Two strong-performing stocks have taken similar strategies to what you'd see from Amazon and used them in their own home markets. Shares of Coupang (NYSE:CPNG) rose more than 10% on Tuesday. The company just went public in March 2021, but it has been a huge first-mover in its home market of South Korea. E-commerce retail spending is expected to climb to more than $200 billion within the next three years, and Coupang is positioned to take full advantage.

Specifically, Coupang has learned that the heart of e-commerce is ensuring vertical integration that avoids reliance on third-party providers. Coupang has therefore built out its own logistics and delivery capabilities, which gives it a key competitive edge over other e-commerce providers that don't have their own logistical support. Moreover, the company is expanding its addressable market, offering services like digital storefronts for business clients and food delivery that can boost profit opportunities.

Tackling China

Meanwhile, the Chinese e-commerce market has plenty of major players, but Pinduoduo (NASDAQ:PDD) is looking to play a disruptive influence in the space. Pinduoduo, whose shares rose 7% Tuesday, has stood out from the competition by using a host of tactics designed to appeal to shoppers.

Pinduoduo started out by appealing to underserved segments of China's population, offering off-brand items at lower costs and introducing Western concepts like flash sales and bulk discount purchasing. That strategy got the company into big Chinese cities, where it can now stand up to giants like Alibaba (NYSE:BABA).

The Chinese market is large enough to support multiple players. Yet everyone loves an underdog, and Pinduoduo's market capitalization is just a fraction of what you'd see from Alibaba -- let alone Amazon.

Take your best ideas abroad

Sometimes, success in international investing is as simple as looking at ideas that work in the U.S. market and finding companies that are trying out those ideas in their home markets. Judging from today's gains in Pinduoduo and Coupang, some other investors are figuring out that lesson.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.