Beyond simply buying shares of e-commerce juggernauts, such as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), a strategy that has proven to be very profitable for investors in recent decades, those looking for exotic or alternative ways of playing the e-commerce trend have increasingly bought into a number of high-profile companies of late: a strategy which has also paid off handsomely in recent years.
Think Shopify Inc. (TSX:SHOP)(NYSE:SHOP) and the recent success of this Canadian purveyor of e-commerce solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses all across the world. With growth investors heavily focusing on e-commerce as one of the areas expected to drive economic prosperity for the decades to come, buying into this trend in any way possible has all the makings of being a very profitable trade in the years to come.
That said, with companies such as Amazon and Shopify currently having sky-high premiums (a somewhat permanent story for Amazon, but a newer phenomenon for Shopify), gaining exposure to e-commerce while investing at a reasonable valuation multiple may seem impossible. Here are two companies that beg to differ.
Cargojet Inc. (TSX:CJT) offers investors a way to play the transportation side of the e-commerce trade in Canada. CargoJet has what can only be described as an effective monopoly on the overnight shipping market in Canada (an estimated market share around 90% north of the border), providing transportation and distribution services for companies offering a “next-day” option for customers.
With the rise of next-day shipping taking on a much more significant role and becoming a strategic and competitive lever e-commerce companies have decided to use, Cargojet has filled the void accordingly. Many of Cargojet’s largest customers are locked in to contracts that allow Cargojet and its shareholders to experience cash flow streams that are much smoother than they may otherwise be in the more volatile transportation business.
Dream Industrial REIT
Taking advantage of the e-commerce boom by owning the underlying real estate associated with e-commerce is another great creative way to play this sector long term. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) such as Dream Industrial Real Estate Invest Trst (TSX:DIR.UN) have exposure to excellent industrial real estate holdings in close proximity many major Canadian metropolitan areas, providing warehousing and distribution space for companies linked to the e-commerce sector.
Dream Industrial REIT has remained one of my top picks for some time now. Currently trading at less than book value, Dream REIT remains a great value play in addition to the company’s excellent growth profile long term.
The e-commerce boom relies not only on a well-run and efficient logistics team to get the products to your door next day, but it also needs places to store the products in close proximity to the masses.
Adding companies like Cargojet and Dream to your portfolio are excellent ways of getting creative with creating a growth portfolio at valuations that make more sense for conservative long-term value-oriented investors.
Stay Foolish, my friends.
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Fool contributor Chris MacDonald has no position in any stocks mentioned in this article. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. David Gardner owns shares of Amazon. Tom Gardner owns shares of Shopify. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon, Shopify, and SHOPIFY INC. Shopify is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.