You can get the same deals online as in the store when dealing with Verizon Corporate. Are you talking about the iPhone4 or iPhone4S? The iPhone4 is showing $99.99, less your $30 "loyalty" (your base plan (without data) must be greater than $79.99 for the $50 discount).
I've ordered online, and I've gone into my local store (be sure it is a CORPORATE store, not an "authorized reseller" to be SURE things go as smoothly as possible). Online ordering with or without a rep has been pretty straightforward.
As far as your contacts go, if you are using BUA (Backup Assistant) on your current phone, the contacts will transfer when you install BUA on the iPhone. My daughter had no problems when she upgraded from her EnV3 to an iPhone4 last August.
Post back if you have further questions....
Thanks Suzy - I'm not using BUA so I may have to re-enter them into the new phone . How do they handle the change in contract? I mean my current two years runs another 4mths, but I'll have to start a new one with the upgraded phone. I intend to change my plan from unlimited nationwide to 450 nationwide plus 2gb data so the price will stay roughly the same.
I'll check on the local store to see if it's Corporate or "Authorized"
Change in contract is pretty simple, you just have a new contract that expires 2 years from the day you sign it, and 20 months from now you can do this all over again! By using your upgrade as soon as you become eligible, you effectively shorten your contract term by 4 months - you start a NEW contract when you upgrade and the old is finished and done.
The 2GB data works well for my daughter, who has the iPhone4. She uses about 1 GB a month, sometimes a little more, but she hasn't yet come close to going over her 2 GB allowance. We do have wi-fi at home, which helps, I'm sure (she listens to Pandora ALL THE TIME here at home) but otherwise she's using Verizon's network when she's working and out and about (she's 20, if that adds anything to the discussion!!)
Good luck to you, and enjoy the iPhone!