Shopify (SHOP 0.29%) was one of the hottest stocks during the pandemic-fueled stock market in 2020 and 2021. From the depths of March 2020 to the top in November 2021, Shopify's stock rose more than 320%.
Since then, the stock has crashed by 80% and now trades for less than it did before the pandemic despite monumental gains. Regardless, many investors are still hanging onto their shares. These intelligent investors know a few things about Shopify's future business prospects, and these insights could lead to outsized stock performance.
1. Most revenue comes from transactions
Shopify's two revenue streams are subscription solutions and merchant solutions. Each store owner must pay a monthly fee to utilize Shopify's service, but this only constitutes 29% of total revenue.
Merchant solutions, which primarily generates revenue from taking a slice of each transaction processed on the platform, makes up the other 71%. This proportion is vital as most of Shopify's future revenue growth will likely come from increased merchandise sales.
Shopify's subscription growth will likely come from its merchants upgrading tiers, as nearly every business already has an online presence after the pandemic forced it. As a result, the growth of this segment will be relatively lackluster -- in the first quarter, this segment was only up 8% from a year ago.
On the other hand, e-commerce is still taking market share from regular retail. As this happens, Shopify's largest revenue stream will grow -- this was the case in Q1, with merchant solutions revenue rising 29% from a year ago.
With Shopify's biggest revenue segment growing the fastest, it's a positive sign for investors.
2. Large brands are finding Shopify Plus attractive
Shopify Plus isn't a streaming service (although the "plus" makes it seem that way). Instead, it's just another subscription tier that enterprise-level merchants can select. Once again, it isn't the base subscription that moves the needle for Shopify -- it's the merchandise volume. Enterprise-level merchants sell more goods than small businesses, making the addition of these customers vital for Shopify.
In March, Shopify closed the most Shopify Plus deals ever in a single month. Some of these businesses are Shopify grown, meaning they started as a small business and later upgraded to the enterprise level after success. Others, like the NBA, chose Shopify for its solid offering.
Either way, more enterprise customers for Shopify means larger sales growth. If Shopify can continue this trend, the business will benefit significantly.
3. Shopify is ramping up its fulfillment offering
To sign these large customers, Shopify has to offer order fulfillment that is on par with other e-commerce companies. That's where its most recent acquisition, Deliverr, comes in.
Deliverr's software helps with the logistics of stocking warehouses so that stores can guarantee two-day delivery to customers everywhere. Combined with Shopify's growing warehouse count, it is building a shipping network capable of competing with any e-commerce company.
Another aspect of fulfillment is processing returns. Amazon makes this extremely easy, and Shopify is aiming to make it just as seamless. With Shopify's growing fulfillment center network, businesses can process returns more efficiently and cheaply.
Despite what the stock price indicates, Shopify is far from finished growing. Shopify trades for a lowly 9.3 times sales -- the lowest mark since 2016. Still, Shopify isn't consistently profitable, which introduces investment risks.
However, Shopify is committed to growing its e-commerce offerings and won't stop spending until it feels its mission is complete. That could be some time, so investors will need to be patient. But, if Shopify can become the go-to company when establishing an online presence, then the stock will be a successful investment.
I feel like this thesis is still on track, and investors should continue holding the stock and opportunistically add when possible.