Nobody likes to see massive sell-offs in stocks, but that is exactly what has happened with many e-commerce stocks. As lockdowns ended and consumers bought more in physical stores, sales numbers and stock prices for e-commerce companies increasingly reflected that trend.
However, that has also helped make many stocks cheaper, and investors with as little as $100 can now buy whole shares in many companies that were previously out of reach. Consequently, more investors could potentially profit from growth names such as Shopify (SHOP 1.15%) and Chewy (CHWY -1.82%).
Shopify has appeared anything but affordable to investors for most of its history. A massive surge in the stock price took it to a pre-split level of over $1,700 per share in 2021.
Nonetheless, a brutal bear market and a 10-for-1 stock split have brought whole shares within reach for small investors. As a result, they can now buy Shopify stock for approximately $35 per share as of the time of this writing.
And they are buying a company that seems to continuously expand its competitive moat. Not only can users build and operate an e-commerce site through Shopify, but they can also attain capital, manage inventory, and administer payments.
Shopify has even moved beyond software to build its Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN). This service can store, package, and ship inventory, a benefit that major competitors except Amazon cannot offer on their own.
Still, Shopify's ecosystem has not made it immune to slowing. The $2.5 billion it generated in the first half of 2022 represented a 19% year-over-year gain. That is a significant reduction from the 57% revenue growth in 2021.
Also, it reported an adjusted net loss of about $13 million, down from an adjusted profit of $539 million in the same period last year. A 72% increase in operating expenses weighed on the bottom line as Shopify builds out its fulfillment network.
But the pain may end soon as Shopify expects higher revenue for its merchant solutions segment. It also believes new merchants will partner with Shopify at a faster rate.
Shopify's stock price probably does not reflect these improvements as it sells just above 52-week lows. Also, its price-to-sales (P/S) ratio of 8 might make it seem relatively expensive.
Still, that P/S ratio has fallen from over 50 late last year and takes Shopify to its lowest valuation in over six years. As Shopify builds out its ecosystem and attracts more merchants, it will likely take the stock higher over time.
Chewy is another growth stock that has become more affordable in recent months. After peaking at about $120 per share early last year, it has steadily fallen. Today it trades around $35 per share, a 70% discount from its all-time high.
At first glance, one might wonder how the internet and direct marketing retail stock competes with Amazon. Its $15 billion market cap makes it less than 2% of Amazon's size. And although Chewy earns a profit, its $607 million in cash is dwarfed by Amazon's $96 billion in liquidity.
But it excels in one area where Amazon fails to stand out -- personalized service. Customer service is available 24/7, and Chewy offers 100% unconditional satisfaction guaranteed. It also reaches out with personal gestures such as sending a gift and a card when a pet passes away.
Even as e-commerce growth slows, Chewy still generated $4.9 billion in revenue in the first half of 2022, rising 13% compared with the same timeframe in 2021. Net income rose by 85% during the period, coming in at $41 million. Chewy's increase in interest income contributed to the higher profit growth.
The company forecasts between 11% and 12% profit growth for 2022. That is a slight slowdown from the 24% revenue growth in 2021, but impressive considering a generalized slowdown in e-commerce.
Also, thanks to the stock price decline, its P/S ratio has fallen to 1.6, well under Amazon's sales multiple of 2.7. In the end, consumers will likely continue to spend on their pets. With its low prices and customer service, increasing numbers of customers will likely turn to Chewy, helping to make Chewy stock a buy.