By Anne D'Innocenzio, AP Retail Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Tired of getting back in line at the store because you forgot shampoo?
Many merchants, from startups to big retailers, are getting into the business of selling personal-care basics like toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo online.
But buying toiletries online is not always a way to save money.
"It's all about the right value, not the cheapest price," said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail. "It has to satisfy you on a lot of different criteria."
Those criteria can include free shipping, mammoth selection and time-savers like automatic order refills. Some websites, like Alice.com and Amazon.com, let you schedule regular purchases. Others, like soon-to-launch Soap.com, offer five or six times the array of products you can find in a typical, traditional drug store.
The Associated Press shopped online and in two Manhattan stores for five toiletry items — Suave's shampoo-conditioner combination for men, Simply Ivory 4.5-ounce bars of soap, Gillette Fusion razor cartridges, Claritin 24-hour allergy tablets and Neutrogena's Deep Clean liquid soap — with some surprising results.
Above all, no store or website we consulted consistently had the lowest prices — or highest. So if cutting a deal is your top aim, says Dan de Grandpre, editor in chief of online shopping guide dealnews.com, run a full Web search for each product.
Here's what we found.